Broken Windows and the Persistence of Hope – Obie Weathers

   Hey, Everybody– – 

     I hope you all are doing good. Staying safe out there and taking care of your loved ones. I’m good. The weather is swinging wildly from hot to cold to hot– –and it messes with my mood. So I’m taking it easy today. It’s my sister’s birthday, and I hope that she’s well and having a nice time out there, wherever she may be.
     So here’s my art. A little dark, maybe, but that is me. It’s me reflecting on the things that I feel I’m up against.
I titled it Broken Windows and the Persistence of Hope because it has to do with my life in this place, a broken system. Also it references a policy the police had back in the 1990s where they enforced laws to the maximum, no matter how small. If they could construe something as breaking the law, they would charge you with something. This hurt me because when I was in seventh grade I was arrested for a prank. It helped start me along this path to death row. It’s a reality that lives with me today and that I’m constantly battling in order to breathe and live.
Recently I came to understand how much this experience in this place has worn down my sense of hope. Really, how my experience in life overall has robbed me of my sense of hope. The belief that I can create a life for myself where I can be free to be me and happy. So this painting is about hope being worn down.
But that’s not all. It’s a hopeful painting as well. Because hope is still here, and that is what matters. Because when it is here we can build it up, strengthen it and work with it to build a better life.
     I have been very lucky in life to meet people along the way who inspired and cared for the hope within me. Laurence is one such person. Maria is also. And I thought about giving the art to them, but a few days ago while suffering an anxiety attack with a tight and pain filled chest I sat down with a book of Ai Weiwei’s art. I have used the cover of that book to paste my painting to. In the book I read an uplifting poem by his father, Ai Quing, called Hope:

Dream’s friend
Illusion’s sister

Originally your shadow
Yet always in front of you

Like flying birds outside the window
Like floating clouds in the sky

Like butterflies by the river
She is sly and lovely

She is always with you
To your dying breath.

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