78-1335B assuages the America’s fetish with dominion over black male bodies, for their own ego and subsistence. Prison labor is contemporary slavery in the most undermining way. The 13th amendment reinforces this idea—it eradicates chattel slavery and all involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime. The number 7 and 8 represent the months July and August—murderous months for Alton Sterling; Philando Castille; Delrawn Smalls; Eric Garner; Mike Brown; Yusuf Hawkins; Emmit Till; and a not-guilty verdict in the death of Trayvon Martin. The number 13 stresses not only the 13th amendment, but also the 13% African-American population of which makes up 35% percent of the national prison population of which are Black male—hence inmate number 78-1335B is a codification of this twisted reality. There is no coincidence in prison labor vis-a-vis slavery and Black male extermination. Numbers do not lie.
Written by Ida Harris for Charly Palmer.
Charly Palmer, 78-1335B, 36″ x 18″, Acrylic on Canvas, $4,200.00