November 26, 2011

Black Hills billboard in Los Angeles

Black Hills Mural Going Up Today in Los AngelesToday, November 26, a mural about the violation of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty will be installed in Los Angeles on the famous “Barracuda wall” wall at the corner of Melrose and Fairfax. The image is a Shepard Fairey illustration based on a photograph by Aaron Huey, part of Huey’s Pine Ridge Billboard Project.

If you’re in L.A., the artists invite you to come by to see the project going up. For more information, visit Aaron Huey’s website, and to learn more about the history of broken promises, visit
Comment:  Once again I'm not crazy about Huey's billboard.

The image is striking, which is a start. But remember that people will see this at a glance from their moving cars. They may get that the central figure is an Indian boy. They may read and absorb the Black Hills message. They may think the circle of red rays has something to do with the Japanese. Or they may not.

What they won't get is anything else. What's the significance of the Black Hills? Where are these hills? Who's selling or not selling them and who's trying to buy them?

Also, how are you supposed to feel about the situation? Why should you care about it? Where can you go for more information?

I trust you see what I mean. The image doesn't convey much information, and doesn't move you to feel or act. If you printed the words in black on a plain white background, they might be just as effective. In other words, you might be intrigued enough to seek more information.

What does the structure on the left or the horsemen on the right have to do with the Black Hills? Who knows? The Indian boy appears before a relatively uninteresting background with no hills in sight. The message this sends is muddled at best.

For more on Huey's billboards, see Billboard Advocate Seeks Donations and Billboards to Raise Awareness of Indians.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the red rays are also a bad image because there are a lot of Chinese and Koreans in LA; the Rising Sun is the equivalent of the swastika in most of the Asian mainland.