Falling into our Future
With everything going on in the world from the recession, mass shootings every other week, Roe v. Wade overturning, the climate crisis and so much more, it's hard to see a positive future ahead of us as young people. Here at Garnet & Black, we wanted to provide a space for students to create something of their own from the chaos and uncertainty of the world. We asked students around UofSC’s campus to submit creative work based on one of the following prompts: "Amidst the world falling apart around you, how do you feel towards building your future?" or “Despite the world falling apart around you, how do you build your future?"
The objective was to let the artists choose their own perspective; to either reflect on the chaos or show how they'll rise above it.
Waves- Sol Wilson
"This work was initially made for someone I was extremely close with. However, within our relationship, I was exhausting the possibilities of myself as an individual.
I revisited this work shortly after our conclusion and continued to pour into it. I realized how much I saw myself in it. I came into this world overwhelmed and overrun with anxiety with so many choices and possibilities, as well as my ancestors' ambitions heavy on my shoulders. They fought themselves out of generational poverty for me to be where I am today and have the luxuries that I have. I was able to rise up because of it. That’s something I’ll never forget. As I look around, especially at a school like UofSC, it’s easy to feel like everyone has had some kind of generational head start, to look around and compare my self-progression to those around me.
When things don't go as planned my mind wants to shut down, to rest, but my spirit wants to burn and crash. This work is a physical manifestation of it all. When the world is falling apart around me I remember who I am. I live, I love, I crash, and I burn, over and over again.
My name is Sol and like the sun I rise again. "
Mixed Media Self-Portrait- Carmen Gardner
This piece is a mixed media collage highlighting what it feels like to be moving forward. I wanted to capture the feeling of growing and changing with the future, despite the uncertainty of it all. Everyone is focused on negativity and wasting time. This collage shows a change in perspective and a hopeful outlook.
Things Fall Apart- Isabel Sans
"Mama said that cookies crumble;
that’s just the way of the world.
Bubbles burst and sandcastles tumble,
and sometimes your cards fold.
Mama, that’s hardly where the breaking stopped.
Up northward glaciers break off in excruciating cracks,
the forests felled, the rivers swelled—
Children plunge from fractured families to decaying city blocks,
taught to grasp blind for crashing currency (never quite enough).
Bodies sown with broken bones,
and broken hearts or promises.
Temples fall and
the holiest of hopes collapse.
Cookies have the peaceful crumblings;
ideals go in pops of bursting glass.
Mama, remember teaching me that “fall” meant more than just scraped knees?
Consider: the dead leaves giving autumn its choice smell.
March’s bridal entrance in pink veils of fallen blossoms.
Consider: decay means mushroom blooms of white and cracked book spines mean love.
How sunrays saw serrated daylight into misty mornings.
To that red shade of “broken” and I counter the miraculous multiplied moons
in a cracked mirror’s face.
The breaking of dawn and awkward silences,
the cracks of eggshells and smiles.
A smash hit means you’ve blown up and that’s all good.
What of crumble cookies, popped corn, and upside-down cake?
I offer you your own vocabulary:
Fall in love, take a crack, break it down,
collapse in laughter, crack a smile, break a leg!
Mama, the world cries out that it is falling apart,
breaking in two and I’ll do my part to
smash all expectations, set hearts aflame,
reap dawn light amid shattered glass ceilings.
And my favorite thing about
this cracked and broken world,
this cracked wide open world,
are the torn down walls between us."
The world does often seem like it is falling, breaking, or otherwise blowing up. It is so mentally taxing to constantly frame our world in such negative terms. So because I have an unbearable need to be contrarian, I wanted to break them free from chains of habit. Words are powerful tools; their weight, shape, and purpose should always be carefully considered. This poem is an experiment to suggest that such words—and also our mentalities—need not be apocalyptic: they can also be vessels of optimism and even positive change for the future.
The poem essentially reuses the same set of vocabulary in two opposing sections and combines them again in the last stanza. I chose to ditch the rhyme scheme and quickly break down what structure existed in the poem to mimic the disorientation and confusion many young people are experiencing. But I brought a recognizable rhyme and rhythm back in the last two lines to have a more optimistic tone and to show the compatibility of realism and hope for the future.
Red Rooster - Kelley Pettibone
This is a woodcut relief print, titled "Red Rooster," printed in 2021. The size of the print (unframed) is 22x34". It is printed on Rives BFK paper. Using a Birch board, I first drew the composition onto the board, then hand-carved the image, rolled the matrix with oil-based printmaking ink (this particular print was a mix of red and black to achieve its garnet color), and printed two editions: one edition using black ink on White Rives BFK paper, and another edition in Garnet ink on White Rives BFK paper. I also printed six variable prints on Tan and Grey Rives BFK paper.
In reference to the prompt "Despite the world falling apart around you, how do you build your future?" I respond with an attitude of steadfastness and determined focus. As seen in the print, a feather has fallen at the feet of this Rooster, it has either been plucked from the Rooster or has become untethered due to some type of trauma; we, as the viewer, are not quite sure why this Rooster has lost one of its feathers. The Rooster appears to be unbothered by its lost feather and remains steadfast in its onward direction. There is atmospheric disturbance around the Rooster (as seen in the "chatter" of the background) which is similar to the distractions that plague each of us daily but yet, the Rooster remains steadfast in its onward direction, paying no attention to the distractions. I believe many of us can relate to having lost feathers and feeling distracted when the world around us seems to be "falling apart". I believe it is critical to remain on course and focused and not allow ourselves to fall victim to distractions. Steadfastness is possible with faith and hope for the future.
Cat, a citizen of the World - Nina Rastgar
The ecosystem services provided by diverse species are crucial to the survival of life within their spheres of influence, especially our survival. However, the earth is facing a dual crisis of rapid climate change and unprecedented biodiversity loss that strikes me to think about how much we love the world. Unfortunately, the global rate of species extinction is currently tens to hundreds of times higher than it has averaged over the past 10 million years. This crisis stems from warming and the cumulative stock of atmospheric emissions. I dream about my sweet cat, whom I miss dearly - a cat who left home one day and never came back. I picture that animals are deeply frightened by climate change. They run away, firmly hugging the planet, bidding it farewell. Before starting to paint, I looked around and started to make handmade paper. there were a lot of things made out of paper. As we know paper impacts the globe at every stage in its lifecycle; ecosystems are threatened with collapse, habitats becoming inhospitable — too hot, too dry, like a gigantic earthquake shaking all species up and threatening our civilization. Where do they run to when everything is damaged beyond repair? We have been living in the capitalist ideology and observing how much value they place on the earth while constantly transforming and consuming Earth’s natural system. The crisis is more severe than is generally realized. But every night before I want to bed, I prepare myself to hope for the future and rebuild our home.
True Colors - Angel Sortijas
This artwork portrays an expression of feelings that we usually tend to keep inside because only then are we truly understood. Although sometimes even that doesn’t help others understand us, it does help us keep weights off of our shoulders.
"Amidst the world falling apart around you, how do you feel towards building your future?"
Confused. Terrified. Unmotivated. Stuck. These are the words that run through my mind about the topic of the future with everything else seeming so stagnant yet crumbling down. It feels like everything is at a stop, never moving forward and when I try to, it never seems to work out. Time might be endless, but it certainly feels like I’m running out of time every day. I want to achieve so many things in life like having my own family, my dream job, and being able to give back to my parents all while helping those around the world who have next to nothing. All that seems to be a blur, all because I know that I’m not the only one getting older, but so are my parents, friends, and other relatives. How do you move past that? How do you keep going? I guess I’ll figure it out as I go, but for now, everything seems too good to be true.
"Despite the world falling apart around you, how do you build your future?"
Despite the world falling apart, I’m still going. Keeping things up because I’m so afraid of failure. Not necessarily because I’m completely motivated… how sad is that? I’m very exhausted, I just want to sleep for a very long time. Yet here I am, achieving things left and right, some things are surprises that I wasn’t very sure of, but I’m loving anyway or at least learning how to love. I see people my age or younger than me being so successful in life, and it does in some way motivate me. I’m saying some way because I know that I’m not supposed to compare myself, I’m supposed to do things for myself not because other people are doing it.