He / Him
State violence doesn’t discriminate between the strong or the weak. It doesn’t show empathy or mercy. It robs the most vulnerable of us of our agency. Even then, as we’re backed into the corner, we still hold each other and try to keep ourselves safe. The Panther wraps its arm around a child protectively. The boy, dressed in a dark hoodie, sits on the floor with his face tucked into the shoulder of the cat. He has one hand behind his back, and one hand up. Both are empty.
The upper two-thirds of the canvas are also empty. The painting sits on the floor, forcing the viewer to look down at the two subjects. The Panther stares back at you, its face twisted in a scream. Its ears are flat, and its tail tucked under it. Its glowing yellow eyes are wide, and it’s unclear if there is rage or terror in them.
But no matter where you stand, it’s looking at you.
We Keep Us Safe
Acrylic - 2021
Rain Neeposh is a two-spirit, Cree artist. His family moved from the Eeyou Istchee, to Secwepemcúl’ecw where he was raised as a member of the Williams Lake First Nation surrounded by wild animals and boreal forest. He comes from a family of Indigenous artisans, and the bead-working he learned from his grandmother is how he celebrates and continues that legacy. He is bringing that traditional knowledge to his paintings.