David Christie remembers the hardships of just getting through life growing up. He was raised in an area where, behind the shopping mall and the everyday people getting on with their lives, blood and negligence lies. With numbers constantly coming in on knife and gun crime within London, he questions whether we are being desensitised by statistics. Do we care enough? This is David Christie’s query as he brings the cold, harsh, and alarming truths to light, through his graphic ideals.
Upon walking into this brave and bold perspective at Open Studios 2013, I found myself stumbling unintentionally across the first piece, even before I had entered the main room. This piece caught my eyes – well, dead between my eyes. As the hallway light beckoned below, the metallic silver object was pointed right at me; a gun. Luckily, this was just David Christie’s work of art, cleverly sitting on a plinth for passers-by to stumble across and very hard to ignore. “Wrong place, wrong time” That’s how I felt as, relating to a victim, imagining them shaking as the barrel of the gun tempts fate, their life flickering, as it is suddenly not in their control.
I begin to notice the other viewers drawn into a world they hadn’t been able to access before, as their eyes lay still looking at Victims 1 and 2. With the marked truth staring you directly in the face, it’s impossible to turn away, unlike the television screens we so readily ignore. They are permanently etched experiences you can’t escape, demons you have to face head on. The pain of the subjects is essentially captured in a poetic, storytelling manner. These pieces show the faces and bodies behind these statistics; they are people, like us. The lighting however shows they have become hardened, iron and cold, as we neglect them.
The one visual art piece I question is the self portrait of David Christie himself; the same lighting and harsh blue upon his face, in-between these two victims. No knife mark, no gunshot wound. Does he really feel he had felt what they have endured? The lay out suggests that, even though physically he hasn’t faced the same adversities, he has mentally and emotionally been scarred. However the light in his eyes represent hope for the youth, as they connote optimism and a way out.
Black silhouettes upon a white background, a tally, a school kid, sportsman, hoodlum, young mother, a ‘regular’ person, just like me or you; five dead. An unassuming piece of modern art that questions our morality. This exhibition represents all of us and our obligation to help deter the youth from carrying weapons, as these people are all our children. As I stare at the black space of white on the right side, it acts as a metaphor for what everyone is thinking, a question mark – who next?
This is David Christie’s first exhibition, an eye opening and inspiring look into the mind of a new visual artist, fighting to be noticed.