I can remember everything about September 11, 2001. I remember where I was, what I was wearing but above all what is burned into my memory is the feeling many Americans experienced; uncertainty and fear. In the years following the attacks, America has made a lot of controversial decisions leading many to question the government. LA Vs. War II: Art for Peace in the Hope Era, starting September 9th and ending the 11th, they will examine questions on the government’s policies and ask after 10 years of the Global War on Terror, where do we now stand as a nation? Is the world a safer place? Where does the Peace movement go from here?

The three day event commemorates the 10-year anniversary of the September 11 attacks and was curated by John Carr of Yo! Peace, the Center for the Study of Political Graphics, Political Gridlock and Ad Hoc Art and produced by Estée Ochoa. The impressive line-up of artists includes Eyeone, Eriberto Oriol, Shepard Fairey, Contra One, Asylm, cojoco, Chuck Sperry, Mear, Manny Torres, and Man One to name a handful. The artists created a large collection of fine art, limited-edition prints and pro-peace posters in response to America’s current military conflicts. In addition, the cultural gathering included DJ sets, video art, performance art, live art and an educational sit-in to inform attendees of what is going on in the world and how to transform their lives and communities.

Mear’s work was simply profound. In one piece he gathered images of politicians and the scandalous things that happen in the closet unbeknownst to majority of Americans. The results are a haunting and powerful commentary of society’s current climate. Looking at the painting is a step process, initially it attracts you with the colors and talented precision, then disturbs you with the grotesque images and symbols by the end you are enraged and hell bent on change. On canvas, Mear accomplishes everything a great political art piece should.

New artist Jimmy Fonseca from Urban Artista painted an amazing piece outside live for the crowd on Friday night. He created a realistic (besides the blue hues) depiction of a hand forming a peace sign. Fonseca was able to do more with a paint can than many artists could hope to do with a brush.

In addition to everything going on at the Vortex for LA Vs. Art, there was also numerous pieces of graffiti art scattered in the streets of Los Angeles, pieces by Septerhed, Lydia Emily, John Carr, Lucky Bunny, Twenty, Leba, Mear One.

The most compelling feature of the exhibition was not what was being performed or on the walls, it was the overall collective energy of all the participants. It was refreshing to see individuals gathering together and using their own form of art to help mobilize people to bring out change. Although the initial fear has subsided and we are no longer alerted of our level of safety by a colored coded system there still remains a large amount of uncertainty. LA Vs. Art forces its audience to ask crucial question about our government and society. What are we doing and what costs? But more importantly why?

– written by Keisha Raines with photos by Birdman

For more on L.A. vs. War II visit the official site:  http://www.vswar.org/