The work, which is comprised of the three words, “blues, bruise, and blood”, written in lowercase in Ligon’s signature neons, is inspired by the testimony of Daniel Hamm. Hamm was part of the “Harlem Six,” a group of young black men wrongly accused and convicted of murder in the mid-1960s. Following his release from prison, Hamm spoke out against the police brutality he experienced while in custody, testifying “I had to, like, open the bruise up and let some of the blues…bruise blood come out to show them.”
The installation will boldly illuminate the interior of the Arts Bank—its power amplified by its physical confinement within the lobby of the building. Particularly poignant in a year rife with incidents of police violence against young African-American men, the installation offers an opportunity to engage in dialogue on identity and race, through history and into today.
A Small Band will open to the public following the Benefit and remain on view until February 18th.