Amistad, based on Hale Woodruff’s Amistad murals of the mutiny trials
24 “x 30” Acrylic glass varnish/matte medium on stretched canvas.
This painting, not that movie (great movie), is me paying homage to Hale A. Woodruff who painted the original Amistad Mutiny trial murals at Talladega College in Alabama (1938-39). There are three that I know of whose overall dimensions are 42” x 78”. It is based on real events where 54 people taken from Africa to be slaves overtook the ship killing all but two who promised to steer the ship back to Africa but being children of the deceiver they led the ship to New Bedford, America. There the Africans were charged with piracy by the Spanish ship owners. They were defended by abolitionist and former U.S. President, John Quincy Adams. They beat their charges and were sent back to Africa in 1841.
So, to celebrate Black History (365 days a year), I picked a black painter and one of his paintings that always spoke to me. When I look at it I think of Nat Turner and his slavery revolt; John Brown and his stand; the Black Liberation Army; Black Panthers, and all the thousands of people over the decades who did not sit by while an injustice took place.
I’m not saying you should or should not do as they did. I am saying I look at this painting and think of how far we’ve fallen…we’ve lost our will to resist. Blacks no longer fill up slave ships. We now fill up prison buses. We no longer work “massa” fields. We sit in “massa” prisons and the numbers show there is still an inequality. There was and is an injustice done to black and poor in America. The mind and spirit of the people and until that injustice is righted, America will never know peace.