Alienable Right to Life
Canvas, paper, acrylic
94 in. x 68 in. x 4.5 in.
Many people cite the U. S. Constitution’s Second Amendment in defense of unfettered gun usage. The Constitution delineates our form of government, but the natural rights upon which the United States was conceived are proclaimed within the Declaration of Independence:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…”
Some use the right to life as an argument for preservation of fetal life. What about the preservation of school children at Sandy Hook Elementary School? The viability of students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School? The life force of concertgoers in Las Vegas?
Our right to life is denied by every mass-shooting perpetrator and by each person who argues against gun safety by invoking the sanctity of the Second Amendment.
Each year, on July 4th, I update the flag to reflect those who have been killed in the intervening months. This artwork was first exhibited in Washington, DC. The reception, held on a sweltering August afternoon, was interrupted by the noise of cell phone notifications–a mass shooting had just occurred at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. The following Wednesday, I added two more plaques to the installation. They contained, in addition to the Gilroy Garlic Festival victims, those from El Paso and the mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio. This is an artwork that will never be completed.