JEMAGWGA Gwylene Gallimard & Jean-Marie

Please have a seat


Five love-benches, built by us, painted in pastel colors. When two people sit, side by side, yet face to face, and start a conversation, they may explore the surface of the bench, left open between them. They will discover then, engraved into the wood, two “head to tail” sentences: one each.

A first presentation was in a group show curated by Frank Martin for the Stanback Museum , SC State Universaity in Orangeburg SC, at the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Brown VS Board of Education.

At a  second presentation at the 2004 Annual Meeting of Alternate ROOTS the five benches were placed on stage. Ten performers sat as in random encounters and read the text facing each of them.

“Lemon Drop” bench:
– Young people of color don’t manufacture and sell guns
– White adults do

“Marigold” bench:
-Young people of color don’t move jobs and stores out of neighborhoods
– White adults do

“Persian Melon” bench:
-Young people of color don’t keep information about birth control, sexually transmitted diseases, drugs and violence away from young people of color
– White adults do

“Sunny Pink” bench:
– Young people of color don’t decrease funds for education while increasing spending on defense and prisons
– White adults do

“Plaza Pink” bench:
– Do you want a coffee?
– Yes, with sugar

The conversation then can continue between the two people. When they start to get up, they look for the other quotes and enter into communication with the other sitters. A conversation then can be facilitated for a group of ten or even a larger audience.

The first four benches texts are quoted from Paul Kivel’s “Uprooting Racism” (chapter on “The criminal justice system”), New Society Publishers 2002.

Comments are closed.