Artist: Mitchell Squire
Dimensions: 44 x 30 in / 111.8 x 76.2 cm
Mitchell Squire is a multidisciplinary artist, educator, and curator whose practice encompasses architecture, visual art, photography, and the study of material culture. Born in Natchez, Mississippi, he is currently a professor at Iowa State University. On first glance at the ‘Gladiators’ lithograph, the shapes suggest perfume or liquor bottles, but closer inspection reveals that they are in fact law enforcement targets – faceless black male torsos. Created in the year following the killing of Trayvon Martin in 2012, this large lithograph titled Gladiators has come to stand for the continual tragedy of Black death in America, particularly at the hands of law enforcement. Squire made this work using a rubber stamp fashioned after the human silhouette of a law enforcement firearms training target.