I See No Ships

There is a long-standing theory that when Christopher Columbus’s ships were approaching the Caribbean islands the Native people suffered from perceptual blindness meaning they could not see the ships because they had no knowledge that such technology existed, and the idea of such a thing was too much for their primitive brains to process. Though we know our eyes do not passively and automatically convert images of the world into conscious understanding theorist were nevertheless happy to label the natives as primitives with such and embryonic understanding of the modern world that their brains were simply overcome and the epic superiority of the approaching European rendered them physically disabled. This theory is arguably one of the foundation blocks on which our historically myopic perspective of “ethnic” customs and cultural understandings were built.

Sunday Service

The signage references the titles of sermons protesting discrimination and violence against African Americans, written in or around the 1940’s the sermon titles feel eerily present-day. Social reformer, farmer, preacher and civil-rights pioneer Dr. Vernon Johns authored the sermons.  Dr. Johns who was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s predecessor at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama would display these blunt and often controversial sermon titles on the exterior signage

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© Chris Christion, Artist/Curator