John Barnes

statement

“Marigny Warning” is an artistic response to a tragic shooting that happened in the Marigny, which is a gentrified or gentrifying historic neighborhood in New Orleans, it is a gradually changing area with charming creole cottages and shotgun houses.  It is also experiencing some of the challenges that the rest of the nation are experiencing such as racial profiling, vigilantism, fear, distrust, and in some instances conflict.

 

“Marigny Warning” was developed in June after the Louisiana Supreme Court exonerated a white male property owner who shot an unarmed black male teen who jumped his fence.  The teen also lives in that neighborhood, as a renter.  The sculpture references Louisiana’s version of the controversial Stand Your Ground law which is referred to as the Castle Doctrine.  The property owner shot the teenager in the head while standing OUTSIDE of his home, which violates my understanding of the Castle Doctrine.

 

Those events served as a catalyst for my creative response.  Once I committed myself to working with these shotguns, the vision of this shotgun house hybrid immediately surfaced in my mind and as did the text.  I trusted in that vision. 

 

Throughout the form there are messages that are amalgamated into the layers of wood, which reference my perceptions about the shooting.  The shotguns are aimed in both directions out at the world.  Phrases such as “TURN DOWN YOUR MUSIC” represents a direct warning from within the house when juxtaposed around the shotgun.  The word CASTLE appears prominently on the roof of the structure.  I used toy blocks to spell out the warnings, they add a playful yet disarming look to the harshness of the words.  

 

I also link that shooting and the apparent bending of the rules in its aftermath to current national events that involve unarmed black male teens being shot by armed white men.