Halim A. Flowers
Love is the Antibody
Spring 2021 (dates TBC due to Covid-19)
The Bomb Factory Art Foundation
Free exhibition tickets will be available via Eventbrite.
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For its spring 2021 exhibition programme, The Bomb Factory is committed to showcasing events and artists forged with collaborations and wider inclusivity in mind. In keeping with this, we will be welcoming Halim A. Flowers, a multidisciplinary artist from Washington DC, for his first-ever European exhibit, as part of a series of virtual exhibitions and limited-capacity live events that aim to amplify the voices of marginalised groups through arts.
An artist, writer, designer, speaker, activist and social justice entrepreneur, Halim A. Flowers was arrested at the age of 16 and sentenced to 40 years to life imprisonment under the law of accomplice liability. His experience as a child in a correctional institution was filmed in the award-winning documentary ‘Thug Life in DC,’ and during his 22 years of incarceration, Flowers published 11 books via his own publishing
company, SATO Communications, which included memoirs, self-help books and poetry. He also took Georgetown University courses through the Georgetown Prison Scholars Programme, leading Professor Marc Howard to describe him as ‘one of the best students I’ve ever had in the classroom […] a person of tremendous intelligence, dedication and integrity.’
Flowers recounts: ‘learning entrepreneurship from selling crack cocaine in the streets at the age of 12, I transferred that ambition for self enterprise to spread my message of love beyond the walls that sought to make me invisible […]. Held in a cage for 22 years, I began crafting my personal method of artistic expression to find some sense of peace in a hopeless place before my resurrection back into the “real” world.’ In his pursuit for a sense of peace, Flowers was driven to launch his campaign for a ‘Love Revolution’ - a mission to ‘inspire others to love radically beyond the superficial barriers that serve to separate us from seeing how we are all connected to each other.’
As well as advocating the dogma of universal peace and community, the majority of Flowers’ artwork, writing and Spoken Word pieces have a political crosscurrent, offering his own highly nuanced commentary on the corruption of the criminal justice system in America; racial inequalities and the Black Lives Matter movement and the presidential election among other important social issues. In his PhotoPoetry piece titled ‘The Souls of Black Folks,’ Flowers writes:
‘Where were all the calls for Waterboarding (Donald Trump)
Torture Interrogation Community patrols (Ted Cruz)
When the souls of black folks were lynched
In the Deep South?’
Flowers was himself instrumental in ensuring that on the 4th of April 2017, the Incarceration Reduction Amendment Act (IRAA) was enacted into DC law to apply retroactively. The year before, Flowers had put pressure on the Mayor and City Council members of Washington DC to support the new bill, which affords those imprisoned for serious crimes before the age of 18 the opportunity to ask judges to reconsider their sentence. As well as getting someone to read his personal testimony, Flowers mobilised a movement of other DC citizens, persuading them to testify at the public hearing to make the new law retroactive. This meant that people who had been convicted as ‘juvenile lifers’ in the 80s and 90s before the enactment of this law could still be considered for resentencing.
Since his release from prison on the 21st of March 2019 under the same Amendment Act, Flowers has been a powerful advocate for criminal justice reform in the United States, touring the country to speak on panels at conferences and universities and creating a diverse portfolio of artwork that reflects his commitment to the fight for civil rights and equal opportunity. He has worked with Kim Kardashian for her documentary ‘The Justice Project’ and performed Spoken Word with Kanye West at one of his ‘Sunday Service’ sessions, and co-founded ‘Unchained Media Collective,’ a production and media arts organisation that dedicates itself to telling the stories of currently or formerly incarcerated people.
Halim A. Flowers
Love is the Antibody, 2021.
Halim. A. Flowers Statement
“Humanity is currently enduring a global quarantine of epic proportions never seen before. However, millions of Americans that have been socially constructed as “Black” such as myself have experienced - and some continue to - what it feels like to be confined. Even though we are experiencing a massive lockdown of home confinement, we still witness incidents where Black people are being murdered by law enforcement officials and overzealous white vigilante citizens.
Before this quarantine, I experienced 22 years of imprisonment as a juvenile lifer from the age of 16 - 38, for an offense that I did not commit. I was released on March 21, 2019, and I began to use my spoken word poetry and PhotoPoetry visual art works to address systemic social constructs. I was awarded the Echoing Green and Halcyon Arts Lab fellowships for my work as an artist, and also made an ambassador for the Represent Justice organization.
When the quarantine hit, my wife suggested that we get paint materials, and I fearlessly approached this practice as a means to further expand my artivism work. With the threat of death traumatizing the entire world, I used the resilience that I developed in prison to still maintain the ability to create art during this crisis that has paralyzed the globe. This “Resilience” collection is my attempt to give people hope for a more loving world rooted in mindfulness, compassion and empathy after this crisis.”
- Halim A. Flowers
Instagram: @HalimFlowers @ideallionaires
Tickets will be made available via Eventbrite
A: The Bomb Factory, Unit 2, 9-15 Elthorne Rd, Upper Holloway, London, N19 4AJ
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