The Monument Project: Africa
About Shrine, About the Project:
Self taught painter, installation, performance artist. My name is Brent spears better known as Shrine, I survived a near fatal motorcycle accident at 18 years old and a near fatal high speed collision at 47 years old. The 29 years in-between have been spent raising kids, learning, loving, making art, staying inspired. I've taken steps forward and backwards, still a work in progress. I became an artist sitting and drawing in my grandmother's kitchens. Although those kitchens are long gone I'm still diligently watching lines come out of my hand, still excited to practice a ritual that takes me home and gives my life meaning. My first show was at La Luz De Jesus Gallery Los Angeles California 25 years ago. Billy Shire gave me my first show, my first mural, my first painting sold, I'm grateful. My next installation will be at The Kenya National Museum in February, followed by an installation at The Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles in April 2014. My journey continues, each moment of self expression leading to the next, and so it goes.
For years my work as a person that makes things has been to adorn, to make precious, to give meaning to things and places, to create space. Specifically in many cases to make beautiful that which has been discarded. To recognize that which has been overlooked. Changing the meaning and value of things by changing there definitions. In this Monument project I'm simply addressing the re-defining of a group of people that are called Autistic.
I started building and assembling structures called temples or shacks in 2006. It started with a small collaboration with artist Simone Star Weit, a 10 x 12ft shack made entirely out of found driftwood, wood old windows and other trash. Taking found materials that nobody wanted and re- defining their purpose and meaning. in 2008 I did a 60ft, 5-structure temple called Basura Sagrada at Burning Man with Tucker Teutsch and over 100 volunteers and artist, made almost entirely out of re-used discarded materials. We took Trash and made it Sacred, literally.
I've created well over a dozen large scale sculptural shacks in several countries since that first humble driftwood shack. Im continuing to explore a familiar theme that runs through all my work: redefining definitions. Challenging whats valuable, whats beautiful, taking whats been thrown away and giving new life , learning from mistakes, finding the opportunity hidden in every challenge for the purpose of inspiring myself and others.
Whats different about the Monument project from my other work is that in this project I'm specifically focusing on redefining ideas connected to Autistic people. Using art to change perceptions and create perceptions. In this Shack called The Monument Shack will be hundreds of photos of autistic people from around the world along with art made by autistic young people as well as art from local african artists. This is a shrine to celebrate the unique beauty of autistic people.
Autistic people will not be contributing to war, They will not be concerning themselves with hating and judging people different then they are. They will not be celebrating greed and corruption. Autistic people have their own business to attend to. I don't necessarily understand this business or these realms but I'm ok with them. I feel that Autistic reality is as legitimate as non autistic reality and a lot less harmful to the world at large
This is my art project, however it is also a collaboration between many people including artist Gloria Simoneaux, artist Joel Dean Stockdill, filmmaker Matthew F. Smith, a group of Autistic young people in Kenya and others. This project has been born out of a relationship with Gloria Simoneaux and Harambee Arts. Gloria has already established a relationship with Autistic people in Kenya and this project has been born from that work. We will be making a Documentary of the process of the project with Artist Matthew F. Smith to share, show and inspire other people to create their own Monument projects around the world.
We are creating a monument to celebrate autistic peoples right to exist as unique expressions of life. This project has two finished products both with a beginning, middle and end.
#1. The sculpture will live at the Kenya National Museum when its finished. #2. The documentary will continue to share the story and inspire others to build their own art projects celebrating Autistic people.
I have several years experience working with developmentally disabled adults and Autistic children, the experience has been one of complete joy and profound frustration, the frustration coming from others trying to "teach" them "art". I enjoy making art with Autistic people, they get it, they let it flow, it's simple, complex and pure. Autistic people express themselves very well with art and need less instruction with more facilities.
This is a fun art project, were not teaching people ,were not saving people, were having fun making a large sculpture in a museum and documenting it.
This is a seed project, the first of many monuments to be made around the world. The purpose is to inspire. The reason i'm doing this for the first time in Africa as opposed to Oakland or Los angeles is because these particular Autistic people in this part of the world are truly discarded and this appeals to me.
This project is happening in February 2014. Funds are needed for: Travel expenses and accommodations for four people, materials, a driver, gas, Documentary Production, payment to the people that work on this project, hiring local Africans.
We are going to Africa to facilitate a collaborative Art party! The Monument Project is going to be one hell of a good party, won't you join us?!
Thank You for reading this,
Risks and challenges
Creating this project has been a labour of serendipity for us. When first introduced Shrine and I immediately created the project in an effort to celebrate those that often are ignored and discarded. Years ago Shrine began his work digging through trash heaps, rubbish bins, abandoned homes, and the sidewalks and streets of his home town Pasadena to create environments of peace, sanctuary, love, and joy out of what is discarded, forgotten, neglected, and left behind. Likewise, I have dedicated my life to uplifting those that society, with no ill intent, has left abandoned with no recourse or assistance.
Since 1988, I have been running non-profit organizations and I excel at finding solutions, inspiring donors, creating unity and community. Our team includes professionals in the non-profit and for profit sector. In Kenya we are backed by a phenomenal group of museum curators, specialists in the area of autism and recognized artists. We are strong and we will succeed. Harambee in Kiswahili means "Lets Pull Together."Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)