Controversial artwork to exhibit

ESCONDIDO, Calif. — An exhibit depicting police officers as pigs in an art exhibit at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido is sparking controversy.

A new exhibit, which opened Saturday at the CCAE, features around 100 artists and is called Street Legacy – So Cal Style Masters. However, there is an art installation that some say is controversial.

Artist OG Slick’s piece is titled “Three Slick Pigs” and features three pigs in a dancing pose, wearing blue police uniform shirts and yellow badges. The three pigs stand in front of a photo of Minneapolis riot police officers, with a derogatory acronym for police spray-painted.

On opening night, the entertainer also had pink donuts to sprinkle for guests, which he said in a social media statement was to “further push the narrative and nurture guests who have attended the opening of our exhibition”.

Sara Matta, CCAE board chair, said the board had received emails and comments on social media from people who thought the article should stay and others who thought it should be taken down. .

The board held a special meeting on Tuesday and voted to keep the facility as is and not remove, cover or modify it, which had already been discussed.

“We are delighted that this comprehensive exhibit is available. It’s our job to make this kind of art available to the community to all aspects of the community and to encourage dialogue,” Matta said.

OG Slick released a statement on social media on Wednesday ahead of the announcement of the decision to keep its display as is. He said in part: “To give you a bit of history, I grew up doing graffiti and my dad was in law enforcement, so you can imagine the tension at the dinner table. I understand the need for law and order in any society, but the abuse of these institutions really gets under my skin. My installation aimed to open up dialogue within our communities. Isn’t that what art is supposed to do? Honestly, if my dad was still alive, he’d probably be pretty upset with my art installation as well. He represented the old school way of thinking. He was my outdated moral compass. If it offended him, I knew I was doing something right.

The statement went on to say, “I am deeply touched by the outpouring of support from the community, the exhibition curators and the exhibition artists who stand in solidarity with me in removing their artwork from this exhibition. at the CCAE if mine is withdrawn. .”

Those opposing the display took to social media, calling it despicable and saying it encouraged violence. Some said they would no longer attend the art center because of the council’s decision.

“It’s not about politics, it’s about humanity. It’s about kindness. This play is mean, it’s bullying, it’s hateful, it’s supposed to This is EVERYTHING we want to suppress in today’s society.Vanessa Holland, a retired San Diego Police Department sergeant and Escondido resident, said in a statement. across the country, police officers are doing everything they can to improve themselves and their relationships with the communities they serve. Without the joint commitment of community members, in this case the California Center for the Arts, we we can never move forward.

A couple heard about the display possibly being taken down and came to see it in person on Wednesday.

“It was important to both of us, as people of color living in the United States, but also as people who let the arts, especially street art, come in and show support and recognize how central is brave to have this art exhibition in general and this peace in particular,” said Khalid Alexander.

“Isn’t free speech something we’re supposed to embrace? Isn’t dialogue something we are supposed to embrace? Raquel Jacob-Almeida said, wondering why there was talk of removing the screen.

The Escondido Police Department said it was aware of the exposure, but did not have a statement about it one way or another.

The exhibition runs from June 25 to August 28.

The CCAE said it plans to initiate discussions between curators, artists and city leaders that “promote a respectful exchange of ideas.”