A gathering at the Village Well Coffee and Books on Nov. 16, 2022 celebrated “United Against Hate” with the Culver Arts Foundation. The event featured a new “Love My Neighbor” drawing by Alexey Steele, Culver City’s current Artist Laureate, of Candance Simmons. Simmons is the owner of the All That & More boutique, and the latest in Steele’ series of portraits of Culver City people, drawing in on the idea of community.
“This is the most important thing,” Steels offered in his remarks “that we be able to connect, to talk, to show our compassion and respect for each other. Art makes all this happen, makes all of this possible.”
The exhibit also featured the work of AVPA student artists Benjamin Scully, Haifa Maung and Lauryn Kinsella. Both Scully and Maung addressed the gathering briefly, savoring the exhibit and the idea of uniting against hate. “It’s great to have work hanging in a space like this. This is why you do it.”
Each of the artists made a formal statement in regard to the artworks and the theme in this week’s CulverPride;
Lauryn Kinsella, Fight the Power, acrylic and collage, 16×20 canvas
“Having spent my entire life emerged in the diversity of Los Angeles while also growing up in Culver City schools, I never understood the true extent of racism. So in 2021, when a wave of anti-Asian hate crimes arose, I was both heartbroken and infuriated. However, this painting is a representation of resilience and strength against the rampant hate in our country. The woman is framed by translations of the phrase “fight the power” in Mandarin, Japanese and Korean– all of which I was able to gather from friends and family, showing the wealth of knowledge and diversity we have access to in our community. The backdrop of streaked paint and collage elements are woven together to emphasize the connectedness between a multitude of cultures. We are able to unite by embracing this cultural diversity, thereby rising above the hate.”
Benjamin Scully, Steps of Love, oil, 16×20 canvas
“With this piece, I sought to depict the places in our communities where people enjoy life together. I believe that cherishing the simple joys which we all share and which bind us together is the best way of combating hate in the world. With this in mind, I chose the Culver Steps to be the subject of my painting as it always filled me with a sense of happiness and excitement. In making this oil painting I was inspired by the impressionist’s loose brushwork and their focus on capturing fleeting moments in urban scenes like this. I intentionally emulated this style because it allowed me to show the subjects while not detracting from the overall message.”
Haifa Maung, United In Hope, color pencil and graphite pencil
“For my LA vs. Against Hate Week art piece, I chose to portray one of the most beautiful aspects of the LA community which is diversity, and how diverse communities enact reform through various active roles that these communities are a part of such as non-profit organizations, LA council board, representatives, etc. I wanted to depict something that really resonated with me as a young person in LA so I chose to focus on protests; as I’ve always been drawn to speaking out against injustice. Hence why I chose to show the streets of LA that are most common for protesting. Growing up I attended various protests for different causes and was greatly influenced and inspired to act on the basis of morality and fighting for what I believe in. At every protest I have been to, I have been able to receive the honor of meeting people from around the world that all have one thing in common which is fighting against hate and oppression. It’s important to keep in mind that having diverse communities bring awareness to issues that are global as well as bring in new perspectives from people that have intersecting identities. That was one of the messages I wanted my art to convey. I intentionally used a lot of contrast within the art piece to illustrate hate vs good and the continuous fight against hate.”
Stop by Village Well, at 9900 Culver Boulevard in Downtown Culver City this week to see their finished works.
The Culver Arts Foundation will be awarding grants for both individual artists and arts organization though the ‘Culver City Resilient’ program before the end of the year.