Photos: Revisit the Chaos of The 1992 Riots At This Haunting South L.A. Art Exhibit
April 29 will mark the 25th anniversary of the 1992 L.A. Uprising, when riots raged throughout the city after the four white police officers who brutalized Rodney King were acquitted by an all-white jury in Simi Valley. Community Coalition, a nonprofit community organization working to eradicate violence, poverty and addiction in South L.A., is bringing that painful chapter in Los Angeles history back to life this April with "Re-Imagine Justice," an interactive art exhibit in a back room at the nonprofit that has been refashioned into a looted storefront.
The "Re-Imagine Justice" exhibit provides a harrowing glimpse into what L.A. life was like during the 1992 riots, with photographer Leroy Hamilton's "Stories of 1992" installation featuring video interviews of local community members looping on a TV, and photographer and protestor Abraham Torres debuting a collection of 66 photos that chronicle firsthand the chaos that swept L.A.'s streets throughout the six-day uprising. The looted-convenience-store concept was thought up by 18-year-old artist and high school senior Aviana Del Carmen Manson, LA Weekly reports. "Aviana's idea was focused less on recounting the exact events of the 1992 uprising — seeing as she wasn't even born yet — and more on conveying what it feels like for her to walk into the intact storefronts of present-day Los Angeles and feel watched," exhibit producer and curator Cristina Pacheco told LAist.
Featuring original work from Chicano graphic artist and Shepard Fairey collaborator Ernesto Yerena, as well as a sculpture by street artist Plastic Jesus (best-known for building a wall around Trump's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame), the exhibit also commemorates more recent instances of racial violence in America, offering a virtual-reality experience that traces the sequence of events leading up to the 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin.
"The anniversary of the L.A. uprising should really serve as a kind of temperature check for the city," Community Coalition President and CEO Alberto Renata told the New York Times, pointing to the exhibit as a monument to the community-rebuilding work that is still left to do in the wake of the 1992 riots. Hopefully, the "Re-Imagine Justice" exhibit's visceral recreation of past unrest will inspire Los Angeles residents to mobilize against present injustice.
The "Re-Imagine Justice" exhibit will run through the end of April, culminating in a "South LA Future Fest" rally, march and concert on April 29—click here for details on the exhibit and other Community Coalition programming. The Community Coalition is located at 8101 S. Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles.