by Dana Todd Pope
Children's Original Art
I started this children's series about nine years ago. A mentor told me to think about my voice as an artist. I went home and I was really pondering that question. My voice? I turned on the tv, the news was on. Three stories. Three children, no older than 13 or 14, painted as heinous deviants from the southside of Chicago. Mug shots and all. I noticed this type of reporting becoming the norm on Chicago's local news stations. Most of the negative news from the southside and westside, positive news from the northside and suburbs. As I had lived on the Southside most of my life, I recognized this reporting as skewed towards depicting a negative light on black children, especially boys. In that moment, I decided to create images to edify the beauty, talent, and potential of those kids from the southside (and anywhere else children were being demonized).