RESPEKT - An Exhibition of Works by Joseph Rodriguez
By Ameer Khan
For the past month from June 3rd to August 5th, the Gulf + Western gallery has had Joseph Rodriguez's exhibition RESPEKT, containing material from the book project also named RESPEKT, on display. The premise of the project focuses on Rodriguez and Swedish-American writer, Carmilla Floyd, following five teenage girls who were in middle school and high school from the infamous areas of Eastside in Los Angeles, including Boyle Heights, El Sereno, and Lincoln Heights.
The project recorded the girls' experiences trying to end the series of violence within their families. It is meant the highlight and correlate the issues of poverty and violence in these areas with the intent of inspiring legislation to reform these appalling conditions. Although each girl has a unique story, they are all able to relate to each other due to the similar issues they face such as gang involvement and poverty. They have been able to continuously maintain contact with the girls as they have visited them in a variety of environments ranging from weddings, funerals, prisons, and birthday celebrations. The girls and their stories will be back next year with a follow up from Rodriguez and Floyd.