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Jul 16, 2015

Katie Usher Remembers Kareem Clarke Through Art

Two nights ago, we showed you artist’s Katie Usher’s creative approach to highlight how many lives have been taken as a result of the spiking crime. From her records, almost eighty people have been killed since the start of this year. We spoke with Usher today and she tells us that the idea was borne out of the sensational killing of journalist Kareem Clarke. While she never met Clarke personally, the artist says that she is moved by the cold-blood killing and so should the rest of the country.

 

Katie Usher, Artist

“I decided to do it because I feel that our art should speak to our society because that is where our art comes from. It comes from our society. I really had to do it when Kareem Clarke was murdered because I thought it was a direct attack on expression and art is all about expression as well. So, last year I did Lab 19 where I borrowed the Image Factory Space to do a piece with a maximum limit of forty eight hours. So, I decided to open the lab with that piece where I took the wall and put all of the names of the people who had passed away from January to July 2015. And, unfortunately, it took up the whole wall.”

 

Katie Usher

Andrea Polanco

“What is it that you hope people take away from what you’ve done?”

 

Katie Usher

“Well, I just really want people to become conscious of what’s happening. I think sometimes we become desensitized because there is so much of it. But, we need to reflect and realize that when it is my neighbor or someone far away as PG, it’s still a Belizean just like me. And what really what happened with Kareem, I think, as an artist, is a direct attack on expression and freedom of speech. That is something that we, as artists, guard dearly. So, I thought it was something to use my art to say nuh.  Kareem wrote about many of these stories and so it was just so chilling when he ended up on the list. I have some of my mom’s newspapers from February to July and I am clipping out stories he did. He didn’t just write about crime. He wrote about the rice scandal, Dara’s tribute to Bob Marley, embezzlement monies from treasury. He wrote about everything.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“How does it make you feel personally to live in a country where we see this, it seems like there is no end to what’s happening?”

 

Katie Usher

“It seems endless. I am going to be twenty nine next month. Kareem was twenty seven. We are age contemporaries. I always read his articles. I was very touched that he didn’t just say the crime, he always told you about the people these things happen to. So, personally, I felt that it was an attack. I want all Belizeans to realize that we didn’t just lose a great journalist, but a great Belizean. Somebody who cared about the community.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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