At age 58 and after losing nearly 100 pounds, ~Keith Alan Hamilton~, the author of the book series Nature ~ IQ: Let’s Survive, Not Die! and as an artist who uses art to create change ran his first marathon in Richmond, VA on November 14, 2015.
Keith took on the marathon challenge by doing what he calls the Hamilton shuffle-jog. Keith developed this style of running to accommodate his arthritic joints and his stout physique not built to race, long distances. In addition to the way his running style was perceived at the marathon, Keith added to the overall effect of the experience by wearing black clothes with a hood. As an artist, who is a social activist, Keith uses art creatively to serve that purpose. The story behind the backdrop of Keith’s age, struggles with depression, losing weight and getting back into shape, his shuffle-jog style and black clothes work together to provide his unique rendition of performance art. Creatively using his body and appearance as a metaphor, intended to inspire change firstly in his fellow artists, and eventually all humanity in the way they perceive, think, communicate, and cooperatively go about solving social issues between one another.
Keith still has the hope that recently performing this kind of body metaphor during a marathon race in Richmond will also help to further illustrate and promote the social activist message embedded in the art of his Slavery in America Image with Words Collection ~ Virginia Edition about race. Currently, it’s being exhibited at the Urban Individualist Artist Collective Gallery #196, founded by renowned artist Helene Ruiz, at Art Works in Richmond, VA.
The setting of Richmond and its relevance to race, color of skin, slavery in America, and runners of all kinds participating in the one race of a marathon was the perfect stage for a social activist artist such as Keith. His creative blending of performance art through a body metaphor at a race correlated to the images with words making up his art collection was a powerful way for an artist to deliver a social message about race. A message with an underlying theme of humanity collectively realizing the benefit to all in decolorizing the ideal of race to one race, THE HUMAN RACE regardless the diversity of skin color, sex, gender, nationality, ethnicity, culture, and belief. This kind of artistically creative social engagement through the streets of Richmond, was to metaphorically unearth the remembrance, bringing back the light out of the darkness (the black running clothes with hood) of the history of slave trade in America that occurred in Virginia and America’s lingering perception about what defines race. From the African-American burial grounds in Portsmouth where Ida Barbour is laid to rest, to a cemetery in Deep Creek along the Dismal Swamp Canal that was dug by slaves and the memory of Moses Grandy freely breathes, to the slave trail in Richmond and the burial place that once had gallows, the place where a blacksmith named Gabriel was hung because of the color of his skin. Art creatively used to resurrect metaphorically from the blackness, the buried inhibitions and predispositions about the color of skin and its effect on how fellow human beings are perceived. Hopefully by bringing this all to the surface through the creative act of art, to be aired out, and confronted through the healing process of dialogue. It will lead to the acceptance of deeds past and then motivate the spirit of change that will lead to the betterment of all THE HUMAN RACE. Therefore, developing a humanity that’s cooperatively engaged, a united RACE as one working together to run the RACE of LIFE and to ultimately win the right to survive, regardless of skin color, sex, gender, nationality, ethnicity, culture, and belief.
In the late Spring of 2016 at an exhibition at The Urban Individualist Artist Collective Gallery at Art Works in Richmond, VA along with the creations of other artists about social injustices, the whole collection will be auctioned off, with a portion of the proceeds distributed to help preserve African-American artifacts in the areas of Shockoe Bottom, Deep Creek, and the Portsmouth, VA burial grounds. May this bring remembrance, dialogue, acceptance, healing. and the cooperative progression of THE HUMAN RACE regardless of skin color, sex, gender, nationality, ethnicity, culture, and belief.
Keith firmly believes, “The true act of creating art is to use it to create change for the everlasting benefit of all humanity.” He hopes his fellow artists will be encouraged to use art in the same way.
Learn more about ~Keith Alan Hamilton~, his vision and mission through art at www.keithalanhamilton.com. View the Slavery in America Image with Words Collection ~ Virginia Edition here as Keith creates it: http://www.keithalanhamilton.com/blog/?p=1655