There are a couple of stories behind this drawing. The first is something of an admission. This drawing was not made recently, nor does it does it depict people I’ve seen around the Bay Area. I actually made this drawing in September of 2000, while I was on a research trip to Harlem’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. On that particular trip to New York, I stayed at the Millenium Hilton Hotel, directly across the street from the World Trade Center. From my window I had a perfect view of the twin towers, and on each of my three mornings there, I would lay in bed for a while, staring at the silver-gray towers against the bright blue sky.
Imagine my shock when, just 12 months later, the towers were gone and the Miillenium Hilton was so severely damaged by the collapse of the World Trade Center towers that it was rendered uninhabitable.
The other story behind this drawing is the theme. I’ve always been interested in the relationship between today’s incarcerated men and women of African descent and the history of anti-Black racism and oppression in the U.S. Over the last 10 or so years I have done any number of drawings depicting incarcerated Black men whose numerical identification tags indicate a specific year linked to a specific incident in African American history. This is one of the first of these drawings, which I created in my hotel room while waiting for a friend to meet me for lunch. For the purposes of this blog post, I have replaced the years that used to be on the ID tags with the name of the blog and the number of the drawing (8-Rock/191).
I’ll return to my more current drawings tomorrow. In the interim, I hope you’ll enjoy this moment of nostalgia for the world before 9/11/2001.