The next stop on the VOMA Visionary Tour was Birmingham, Alabama, specifically to visit and marvel over Joe Minter’s African Village in America. Joe has dedicated every square inch of his property to spreading the word of God through his art and blindingly bring to light the tragedies, oppression, and hypocrisy associated with the enslavement of African Americans in the United States. Minter’s art is made of trash, plain and simple, but each piece of trash has a powerful message and when you look past the materials, you start to see the silhouettes – the people.
Joe’s property is adjacent to this cemetery. This photo was taken at dusk, around the time I realized there was not another human in sight and the only sound was that faint, droning buzz of bugs in the air and that I was literally standing on an African burial ground.
Thought maybe I could see a skull…
Now anyone who knows me is aware of my fascination with the illustrated eye, but I saw this tag later in the night in an alley in downtown Birmingham, and it just seems like an appropriate photo to end this post. Joe Minter’s African Village in America is a really heavy place, a beautiful and painful monument to our nation’s scarred history – another reminder that racism and injustice are as present as ever in our country – but most importantly a reminder, in light of more recent events, to ask yourself: What’s the point of living if you’re not trying to be a better person everyday?