To Hear and Be Heard – Squeak Carnwath

To Hear and Be Heard

Squeak Carnwath

Squeak Carnwath
Then We Must2020
Oil alkyd on canvas over panel
77” X 77”
Courtesy of the artist
Photo Credit: M. Lee Fatherree

Then We Must

The title of Squeak Carnwath’s painting THEN WE MUST demands our action IF WE KNOW, which is emblazoned in large letters across the canvas. These words are a fragment from James Baldwin’s An Open Letter to My Sister, Miss Angela Davis. Baldwin writes, “If we know, then we must fight for your life as though it were our own”. 

Behind the large letters are banner-like swaths of color, along with telling images of a sinking ship, the planet earth, a cell phone, a clock alerting us NOW is the TIME, symbols and drawings rendered in paint, and much more. We are bombarded with words – layers of text, from the news, quotes, protest chants, demands, and journal-like thoughts, which fill the space with the same energy and urgency as the passionate speeches and marches which engendered them. Carnwath paints with the language of our times so that we may hear, compelling us to respond to our world with empathy, duty and determination.