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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

'Kin Killin' Kin': James Pate's KKK series draws to a close

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  • Courtesy James Pate

James Pate's exhibit Kin Killin' Kin continues through the end of the week at Clark Atlanta University Art Galleries. The series features 12 large format charcoal drawings in which the Ohio-based artist likens gun violence among contemporary black youth to Jim Crow-era terrorism perpetrated by the Ku Klux Klan.

Though Pate started the series in 2000 and has gradually added new works since, the traveling exhibit has taken on deeper significance in the wake of the high-profile murders of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis and President Barack Obama's recently announced My Brother's Keeper initiative.

While sparking a national discourse on race, Martin's death and George Zimmerman's resulting murder trial also garnered counter-criticism from those who argued that African-Americans were less incensed over black-on-black violence.

But Pate's exhibit also underlines the lack of media attention such intra-cultural criticism like his receives. Despite an ongoing tour to colleges and independent galleries, it's received little mainstream press. Pate hopes the series will serve as a visual catalyst alongside the continued vocal demonstrations against such crime in the black community.

Kin Killin' Kin closes Fri., March 7. Clark Atlanta University, 223 James P. Brawley Drive. Trevor Arnett Hall, 2nd Level. 404-880-6102 ext. 6644. www.cau.edu/art_gallery.

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