Christopher Daniels explains the world to his daughter
In his series of crayon and pencil on paper works ‘Explaining the world to my daughter’, New York based artist Christopher Channing Daniels shares an unsettling view of today’s social injustices, environmental issues, abuse of power, violence and depravity.
The system of categorization – some are superior, some inferior, either among men or between man and other species – generates a permanent state of conflict or silent obedience resulting from innocence, the inability to understand the consequences or to fight the oppression. There are no equal chances for both parties in this series – there are those with weapons, the only means that offer status and social privileges in the reflected society, the victims – the weak and often the earth itself, no longer rich and thriving under man’s destructive influence, and those who simply look away, accept this vicious circle, and further fuel it through their inertia. It is certainly not a random choice to avoid giving a face to such a spectacle – all the human characters have no facial features, in contrast to animals or statues, therefore no identity.
However, there is an interesting distinction between the adults and the children characters in the drawings, the latter seem to not fully acknowledge the proportions of the situations they find themselves in and this is highlighted especially in their gestures. The body postures show that they fear yet are curios and amazed by the happenings before them. Thus, immorality, the lack of empathy and brutality risk to be perceived as normality.
Another aspect that confronts the viewer is the artist’s depiction of man’s relationship with his natural surroundings. In this case, we no longer witness the conflict, but its result – what is left behind, the damage, the emptiness. And returning to the title of the series, is it the image a child should get accustomed to?
‘Your children, my children’, crayon and pencil on paper, 17.5” x 12.5”
‘We used to call it nigger dancing’, crayon and pencil on paper, 17.5” x 12.5”
‘Bad kids’, crayon and pencil on paper, 17.5” x 12.5”
‘1 for 60, 2 for 100’, crayon and pencil on paper, 17.5” x 12.5”
‘Circles’, crayon and pencil on paper, 17.5” x 12.5”
All images © Christopher Channing Daniels
More info on his website.