Trio is honored to present “Expunge”, a participatory, performative piece by Philadelphia based artist, Melissa Joseph. Joseph has two pieces in our upcoming exhibit, “Media Circus” and much of her work is focused on violence and healing.
There has been a marked increase in the frequency and quantity of gun violence in schools in the last 10-15 years. Since the mass shooting at Columbine in April of 1999, there have been 25 fatal elementary and high school shootings and counting. My art practice is dedicated to mending and healing. The goal of the work is to join people in conversation while exploring art’s role as mediator, or a locus of external focus required to generate more complex narratives and promote deeper understanding of the other. There is not an intention of changing positions, but rather of allowing new knowledge to illuminate overlaps in personal experiences where trust and empathy might grow.
On April 28th, I invite you to join me in a participatory project at Trio Contemporary Art Gallery called Expunge. For 6 hours I will work, hand washing t-shirts that are screen printed with bullet holes. There are 122* shirts, which is the number of people killed in mass shootings on school campuses in the United States since Columbine. Each shirt symbolizes a victim lost to gun violence.
It is my hope that through this communal public act, opportunities will arise to meditate on the lives of these victims, to share in meaningful conversations and exchanges with one another, and to keep attention focused on the conversation around gun legislation. Please come and wash a shirt with me!
*https://www.axios.com/122-killed-in-mass-school-shootings-since-columbine-1518729655-91efddc3-adcd-4991-bd5c-59938db7bc2f.htmlThis does not include school shootings with 0 or less than 4 fatalities.