Happy holidays to all our Black Oak Society family!
This year has been a time of deep reflection for Aerial and myself. To be completely transparent, there came a point where we didn’t know if BOS would make it into 2024. We have truly carved a very unique space for ourselves in the art world. Graphic and book arts is not a genre that attracts the enthusiastic support of others. We’ve also deliberately chosen to remain a for-profit organization; we feel our artistic contribution is worth nothing if it is not, first and foremost, the truth.
Since we started BOS in 2019, censorship has become an increasingly disturbing trend in the art world.
Over the past three months, that trend has grown into an all-out war against the freedom to speak inconvenient, nuanced, and unpopular truths. Harassment, cancelled exhibitions, forced resignations, and even death threats have become commonplace against creators from every genre and discipline. At least SEVENTY-ONE journalists and media workers have been murdered during the Palestinian massacre. Karen Attiah’s poignant editorial in yesterday’s Washington Post reminds us that, “For context, nearly as many journalists have been killed in two months in Gaza as were killed worldwide in 2022.”
October 7th’s Hamas attack on the Israeli people is abhorrent. The 1000+ people who were murdered, kidnapped, or injured is a heartbreaking reality that never should have happened. How much more obscene, then, are the deaths of over 20,000 Palestinians, and the displacement of 2.2 million more? Among the dead are poets, writers, artists, and journalists—colleagues in the work of speaking truth to power in beauty. Those whose work it is to celebrate and reveal the tangled magic that is life, and their life and work have been snuffed out by poison and drones.
At Black Oak Society, we are unequivocally on the side of the ghettoized, the hungry, and the disempowered. We stand in solidarity with the artists and the storytellers. We desire for them that which we want for all, freedom to live in dignity, abundance, and peace.
May the Divine bring justice and peace to all the broken places, in us and in the world.
Happy holidays and a Blessed New Year,
Aerial & Courtney