The white police officers’ arms wrap around the black victim, strangling him. Stitched in bold, red letters across the victim’s face, “I can’t breathe” has come to symbolize Eric Garner’s plight July 17, 2014, when he died after an encounter with police in New York City.
This image, stitched onto a quilt by Yosief Teckle, questions the role of a police officer in today’s society.
In the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, the common comforter is transformed into a form of personal political expression as professional artists and school-age children stitch their opinions on issues such as police brutality and gun violence. The exhibitions are on display until July 15, when the quilts will be taken down and shipped to the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts.
The hallway that leads to the “Guns: Loaded Conversations” multi-artist exhibition and another exhibition by Thomas Knauer is filled with youth artwork, from young children to 21-year-old adults.
“I believe that children shouldn’t be worrying about these adult concepts,” museum exhibition curator Amy DiPlacido said. “They have to become very mature quickly.”