Kenneth Hayden

Gun violence, particularly in America, is not new. Thrust into the daily news cycle its presence has become a norm, exploding further with the current opioid crisis. As an artist, I feel compelled to respond visually. In the project, I.M.A.G.I.N.E Peace Now, founded by metalsmith Boris Bally, I discovered other artists have the same reaction. Near the end of 2017 Julie Schweitzer, director of ArtSeed Gallery in New Albany, Indiana, asked me to exhibit my work as a satellite show for the *IPN* traveling exhibit on it's stop in Louisville in Janurary 2018. I created several of the pieces shown here just for that exhibition.

Employing symbolism and conflicting technical means, I strive to create awareness of the similarities between people - regardless of our personal experiences. Violence affects us all. 

A couple of years ago I made a small painting I called Flower Power. The origin came from the memory of a news photograph taken at an anti-Vietnam War demonstration in October, 1967, just a few months after the Summer of Love. In the photo, a person is shown placing a flower into the rifle barrel of a National Guardsman. The image is burned into our conscience and has influenced me artistically. I have expanded on the theme with several pieces in this exhibition.

Using a lotus blossom as a symbol for peace is an allusion to the transformation of “swords into plowshares”  – or in this instance, bullets into a lotus blossom. For me, the lotus represents a symbol of fortune as it grows in mud: rising and blooming above the murk to achieve enlightenment.

Other pieces address the rampant heroin epidemic, the overdoses and ancillary violence accompanying the problem. Milk and Honey and The Mathematics of Providence confront the false sense of well-being drug addiction can produce.

Kenneth Hayden

January 2018

I.M.A.G.I.N.E Peace Now

ArtSeed Gallery