As a part of #NationalClayWeek, the Socially Engaged Craft Collective launched Project Canary, a collaborative, social, ceramic project that considers the real-life implications of United States federal, state, and local legislation.
The Project Canary collaborators write:
The extreme and misguided decisions politicians make have real life repercussions. As our leaders send legislation such as bathroom bills, twenty week abortion bans and more into action, people’s lives are impacted. They claim to be protecting people, but often the stories of those whose lives are negatively impacted by these policies don’t have the privilege of telling their story. Project Canary honors the experience above the rhetoric by connecting people to each other through their individual untold stories
Project Canary called for individuals to submit their stories of injustice and experience under current legislation. Small objects were crafted to represent each story, stamped with a number, and were strategically and publically placed with a Project Canary Tag. On the tag, “finders” were directed to the Project Canary website, where they could search their object number and read the story that inspired its creation!
Finders could also read other stories in the Project Canary database, and even submit their own! Finally, finders and makers used the hashtags, #projectcanary #projectcanaryfind #nationalclayweek and by tagging Project Canary and the SECC on Facebook and Instagram.
This project was named for a quote from Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s dissent of Utah v. Strieff—a Fourth Amendment case that probed whether the existence of an outstanding arrest warrant could serve as retroactive justification for an otherwise illegal police stop. She wrote personally and starkly about the experiences of those with black or brown skin, saying:
“We must not pretend that the countless people who are routinely targeted by police are “isolated.” They are the canaries in the coal mine whose deaths, civil and literal, warn us that no one can breathe in this atmosphere. They are the ones who recognize that unlawful police stops corrode all our civil liberties and threaten all our lives. Until their voices matter too, our justice system will continue to be anything but.”
This project, and its collaborators extended Justice Sotomayor’s metaphor to include gender, immigration status, reproductive justice, and other human injustices in addition to racial inequity. The goal of Project Canary is to empower those whose voice is often unheard, making politics real.
Project Canary was launched by the Socially Engaged Craft Collective, and is ONGOING! Project Canary is still accepting stories, and objects are still being crafted. Please continue to read and submit your stories, and keep an eye out for an UPCOMING, NATIONWIDE DROP!
Consider joining the outstanding artists, makers, and communities that took part, and BECOME A COLLABORATOR! Check out the Collaborators page!