Trap Music Museum resident Rich Bizarre has unveiled his latest work — a prison reform art piece to expressed globally shared frustrations over the latest killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, and George Floyd amidst the global pandemic of COVID-19.
The message behind Bizarre’s installation is extraordinarily relevant to what so many people in our country are facing, especially ones in the African American community. Sometimes creating something so raw and real that will still resonate with people can be difficult, but to Bizarre, the process came naturally and organically.
“The main thing for me was using my platform to express something I felt was important and powerful and hopefully be able to connect to the people. I thought maybe it could help change people’s minds to see the light and not so much the negative.
“I’ve talked to people I never thought I would exchange words with just by having those different conversations,” he continued. “With Breonna Taylor, I wasn’t that clear on her situation but now to fully understand how she lost her life is unreal. This entire process was a learning experience.”
In the art installation, the words “free me” are written repeatedly around a globe. “These words mean being free from coronavirus, being free from just everything we go through with police,” Bizarre explained. “As black men, a lot of us are scared to get behind the wheel and drive while doing absolutely nothing wrong. I have actually developed PTSD from situations just like that.
“I’m ready to be free from people dying for no reason,” he continued. “Being free to be able to travel outside of the country and not being worried that you’re going to catch something that will make you sick. Basically being free from everything happening right now.”
With so many senseless killings taking place in the hands of police officers, millions of enraged citizens around the nation have joined together to inform, protest, and petition for the justices of these innocent individuals, some of which have yet to receive justice.
Bizarre, a Brooklyn, New York native, made it his mission to extend the same service. This involved him getting informed himself and truly understanding the circumstances surrounding these unjust cases.
“I’ve definitely learned a lot about the different situations that have happened like with Ahmaud Arbury and Rayshard Brooks,” Bizarre said. “Just being able to talk and do the little research to really understand what was happening has been major. I learned a lot about people’s different views about what’s going on in the Black community from other races.
The art installation has been displayed along the Atlanta Beltline near Ponce City Market and at Axis Replay for hundreds of people to view.
“There was a lot of struggle regarding getting placement for it, we’re working on getting things cleared so the installation can have a proper home to live permanently so it can continue being seen by the public.”
In order to make sure the installation was ready for World Trap Day, Bizarre said he endured two grueling weeks of sleepless nights during preparation.
“Honestly, during this entire process it was just nonstop digging within my creative mind,” he explained. “I was constantly trying to find ways to express how I was feeling. I don’t have a background in carpentry or anything like that so every time I do a new project, it’s always something I’ve never done before.
“I think to myself, ‘Is this going to work?’” he added. “‘Am I going to put this tower together and it collapses? Or is it going to stay and hold up?’ When it came down to the actual art, it was all about digging deep.”
Not only did Bizarre pour his creative expression through art but also used his platform to create an open forum for others to provide feedback to him.
In addition to the exhibit, he also penned a letter for World Trap Day expressing to the public his true feelings about the state of the nation. In a heartfelt letter, the young artist makes it known how sending kind words and pictures to him are always appreciated.
“When I wrote the letter, it was coming from a standpoint of feeling locked down,” Bizarre said. “When you think about inmates when they go to jail, they’ve been stripped away from their families, they have all of these restrictions.
“As we’re going through what we’re going through right now we have a lot of those same restrictions, of course maybe not to the same extent,” Bizarre continued. “I wanted to write from this time frame in life to mark this exact point in time so people are able to reflect on it and shine a light on it instead of focusing so much on the negative side of things.”
Overall, Bizarre said he is overcome with gratitude over the response he has received for the exhibit so far.
“To get a response like this is amazing. It’s upped the level of what I feel I’m capable of doing now,” Bizarre said. “I don’t feel it was hard or easy to get the vision across. I never really worry myself with that. For me, it’s about staying true to what I feel and if it speaks to the people it’s supposed to speak to then my job is done.”