Through my art, I amplify ideas about the black experience in our society. I focus on the themes that affect my community: class, race, police brutality, corrupt government, death, and other issues, to show the way in which black men and women are made targets, and to find a way to celebrate the lives of these under-represented individuals. I create a world where these people can survive, and find a way to be themselves, while being free from imprisonment, both metaphorical and real. I am a black man fighting for equality and social justice. My Jamaican-American background, connections with people, my dual communities of Queens and Jamaica, and outside of it, old family photos, and my memories all inform the way I make art.
Subject matter was all-important for me since I wanted to represent these figures’ “humanness” outside of media stereotypes. I wanted to see more individuals that looked like me, individuals from my community, individuals that would normally never be seen on the walls of a museum or gallery. I wanted them to be seen for who they are: proud, free and living in a world free from judgment and surrounded by love. This is how they deserve to be viewed by society.
Each person that I decided to include in my work walks a different path and has a different purpose on earth. The one true connection between each of these individuals is the hardship each faces being a black man or woman in this world. Not every story is the same, but there are similarities in life experiences. I am tired of being looked at as a threat to society, tired of not being looked at as equal, tired of being looked down on, tired of being labeled in whichever way the world wants to classify us, and especially tired of going to museums and not seeing more black artists or black people being represented in a positive way. I work so that the next generation of black youth can aspire to a better life, so that they can be able to put their minds to anything they choose and not feel like they cannot succeed in this world unless they are a white male or female. My aim is to spark change in this world, locally and globally, through making and sharing my art.
Anthony Jackson (Bugzdale)
Untitled, 2017, acrylic paint on wood panel and canvas