Shaun Leonardo 

 

Born in Queens, New York, US, 1979.  Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

www.elcleonardo.com

 

The Eulogy (I AM A MAN), 2015

 

The text featured in this poster by artist Shaun Leonardo is a modified excerpt taken from the eulogy within Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man. This eulogy for Brother Tod Clifton's death and funeral marks a pivotal point in the novel where there is a major transition in the narrator's psyche. For the first time he becomes emotionally involved with the fate of another human being as he wrestles with his own conscience, wondering if there was something he could have said or done to prevent this tragedy.

 

Revisiting this eulogy serves as a poignant reminder of recent tragedies and gives voice to certain desperation. Years after the writing of this critical novel, our communities of color still fall victim to systematic oppression and racism. The faces of those young black men whose lives are lost to unwarranted, excessive force by police are too easily forgotten or erased. These words capture the essence of powerlessness and vulnerability we feel toward the power structures that still inhabit our day-to-day life experience. The eulogy commands a great awareness of our reality. These words serve as a memorial, a rejection, a challenge, and call to action, all at once.

 

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