(*Trigger Warning: Blood*)
The morning of November 9th, as the results of the most polarizing election in recent memory sent shock waves of fear and disgust throughout the country, American activist collective INDECLINE and Illma Gore released a call to arms. Imploring artists from all mediums, their aim was to create a large-scale act of artistic solidarity and in its wake, leave behind a poignant piece of politically charged artwork. First, An Underground Blood Drive in Los Angeles, CA produced and documented by INDECLINE and subsequent Blood Mural conceptualized and painted by Illma Gore.
From the artists: It is evident that the artist and activist community could very well be the leaders of a new movement that has taken form at the brink of four unpredictable years. This particular project is intended to inspire peace and unity with one emboldened loud statement, an open letter to Mr.Trump saying, “We’re here, and we will give everything we’ve got.”
In an act of solidarity, on Friday, January 13 over 50 high profile donors from the world of art, music, graffiti and activism came together to give blood and create a powerful message of unity in the face of social, cultural and political adversity.
Throughout Friday the 13th, members of INDECLINE transported the blood donations to the Samuel Freeman Gallery where Gore finalized the painting. The completed piece was then “sealed” with a layer of acrylic and the artwork was displayed to the public on Sunday, January 15th.
The inspiration behind the painting comes from the very beginnings of the American flag and the hands that sewed it together. The image is a re-creation of Henry Mosley’s painting, The Creation of the Flag, a fictional depiction of the events that lead to Betsy Ross becoming a patriotic icon in the late 19th century when stories surfaced that she had sewn the first “stars and stripes”.
In a similar vein, Rise Up Thy Young Blood depicts both the stigmatized and marginalized humans that make up America’s great “stars and stripes”, and painted with their own blood.
The final piece stands 15ft tall and was completed in 56 hours being painted with the combined blood of over 50 donors, some of whom are not currently able to safely donate blood to the Red Cross due to their donation criteria.
On the official website of the Red Cross it states that one pint of blood is equal to the dollar amount of $150. In concert with The Samuel Freeman Gallery donated the cost of the six pints used in the project to the foundation.