Deborah Nehmad, Old Glory?, 2017
“Old Glory?” is part of a large body of work I have created over the past 10 years addressing the issue of gun violence in America.
As an activist committed to social justice and a mother, I was horrified by the influence of the gun lobby on our political system and brought to tears by the proliferation of incidents of children shooting themselves, other children or their parents. Every time I finished a major piece and thought I could
move on to the next issue, another mass shooting would occur and another piece was birthed.
““Old Glory?” functions as a catalogue of tragedy. The piece, on waxed handmade Nepalese paper, approximates the proportions of the American flag. The “stripes” are comprised of 33,000 stitches documenting the average number of deaths from gun violence in America from 2004-2016. The stripes of black x’s represent suicides; red crosshairs represent homicides. The “stars” are presented as targets burned with holes representing the number of victims of mass shootings in each state over the past 25 years.
To me, the paper is a metaphor for skin and each stitch represents an accounting for the loss of that individual. Suicides comprise 2/3 of all gun violence victims and the visual impact of seeing more black than red helps convey that message.
My intent with these works is to visually portray what words alone cannot. The extent of loss and its ruinous toll on our democracy.
In other words, I hope to influence the viewer to vote for candidates who pledge to stand up to the gun lobby and support common sense gun safety legislation. It’s the very least we can do for our children.