Summer Studios 2015: Shaun Parker

My name is Shaun Parker. I'm at U of H (University of Houston), and I'm from Houston. I'm a Sculpture major and an African American Studies major. 

In African American Studies, we're always told that the greatest form of the process is creation, so when you're actually able to create something out of this mess or some sort of disparity or out of the conditions that African Americans face in America, that's always a good thing. Before at Project Row Houses, I was collecting information, a list of names of all those people who have been killed by police, people of color who have been killed by the police, and after developing that, I started thinking of ways to inform the community and get the community involved. We're not supposed to be separate. We're supposed to be linked together, so I started getting people to sign shirts because for our generation, in 5th grade and 6th grade, when you're leaving a school, you want all your friends to sign shirt. So you have a sense of community in that signing. 

I was blessed enough to take a trip to Africa, and in Africa I found that there's still a sense of community. When I went to Africa, I got a whole bunch of cloth - adinkra cloth and kente cloth, things that were meaningful to the culture there, and funeral cloth. So, instead of having t-shirts signed, I feel like these things have more of a heavy influence and heavy meaning. It is bad, but it's blossoming, and there's room for growth, and I feel like a lot of times the community doesn't see that. So to give them that spark of hope is really important to me. 

About Shaun Parker
Shaun Parker is a student at University of Houston whose work addresses the shifting perceptions and nuances of Blackness within and without Black communities. Incorporating graffiti, textile, and storytelling, Shaun plans to expand on a previous participatory project in which community members read the stories of victims of police brutality, in addition to telling their own stories of police accountability, or lack thereof. 

About Summer Studios
Summer Studios was developed to provide an opportunity for emerging artists to create and exhibit work that responds to, engages with, and/or is reflective of community. This program is open to seven art students and emerging artists, nominated by professors and selected by a panel of professional artists. Summer Studios is open to artists who are interested in making art in an urban community setting, engaging with the PRH/Third Ward Community and interacting with established Houston-based artists.

Video by PRH Intern Valerio Farris