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Occupy Space
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ajardini's picture

Sr. Editor

If you reach back into your memory to 2011, you might recall the Occupy movement, wherein American citizens took to the street to protest social and economic disparity.

While it started as a demonstration on Wall street in New York, rabble rousers across the country, and even the world, quickly joined the fight against big business control. "Down with the man!" was the general idea.

In Oakland, CA, there was a particularly huge turnout. The slogan "We are the 99%" resonated for the city, which has many poor areas. The disparity of wealth and privilege is especially glaring considering the influx of money, gentrification and sky-rocketing rent prices across the bay in San Francisco. (Thanks Google!)

The Oakland protests also had a decidedly political point of view as protestors cried out against police brutality in minority communities, a huge issue there. In fact, a lot of violence ensued between demonstrators and police officers as the city tried and tried again in vein to get them to clear out the plaza.

Miguel Arzabe joined the ranks of the socially conscious, hippies, and general wackjobs who took to the streets and staunchly remained. His painting Occupy Space brought a conceptual and wonderfully artistic flair to the scene. The sentiment of "occupying" outer space seems like humorous take on the whole thing.  It echoes the fight for the right to hold peaceful public demonstrations, and elegantly suggests the importance of the individual. Obviously, everyone on Earth occupies space.  In this way, the playing field is leveled.  

Whether you're a Wall Street big shot or a disenfranchised, minimum-wage employee, we're all hurtling through space on this crazy planet, so shouldn't we be treated equally? All this talk is getting me riled up for the picket line...maybe the movement should get started again. As of now, all I occupy is the couch. 

cnickell's picture

Contributor

Would you ever expect to see a piece of museum-worthy art hung in a shantytown during a political uprising?  

Well, artist Miguel Arzabe made that happen, by attaching his “painting-turned-banner-turned-tent” onto a janky EZ-Up during the Occupy Oakland movement.

This trippy painting of a galaxy, emblazoned with the pun “Occupy Space,” surely brightened the days of some of the campers out on the foggy streets of Oakland. 

This piece was gifted to Oakland Museum of California along with a banner used in the Nov 2, 2011 General Strike in Oakland that said, “Love Your Brother, dammit, Dump Your Bank.”  Love it.