What: The Love Renegade #308: I Love You Keith Bardwell (Phase 1) by Elizabeth Axtman Curated by Meg ShifflerWhere: The Ramp GalleryWhen: November 9th–December 10th
The Love Renegade is an ongoing series of works that focus on sending positive messages and forgiveness to those in our society that have enacted acts of hatred.
In the words of the artist, Elizabeth Axtman, “Keith Bardwell, a former Robert, Louisiana, Justice of the Peace, made headlines in 2009 for his refusal to marry an interracial couple. Bardwell explained on national television that he had seen ‘countless’ interracial couples whose ‘offspring’ had been rejected by family members and society at large. He claimed he did not want to see this happen again. When reading this, I recalled all the times I heard people use the excuse, ‘I’m not a racist, I just worry about the kids.’ I believe this excuse comes from two places: (1) the under representation of interracial families and persons in popular culture; and (2) the lasting effects of the tragic mulatto character from Jim Crow and beyond.
For the exhibition at the Ramp Gallery, I am presenting the first component of my new project, The Love Renegade #308: I love You Keith Bardwell (Phase 1); a short film featuring interviews with biracial people – toddlers to the elderly. They discuss their experience as children of interracial unions, and their relationship to racial identification in a post-millennial America. They tell Keith that they’re doing well and after every interview they say, ‘I love you Keith Bardwell.’”