At age 24, Armando Cabrera captured the City of Los Angeles on fire and protest with a simple 35 mm camera bought at a local convenient store. His motive was to document the days after the 1992 acquittal of four LAPD officers charged with using excessive force against an African American man named Rodney King.
This incident was captured on video. What came after would be a civil unrest, a protest, fires, destruction, rage, and an outcry for social justice. Over 150 visual narratives framed by Cabrera, explore and testify the indignation of a community.
Scholar W. E. B. Du Bois claimed, "The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line." The 1992 civil unrest, like previous manifestations such as the Watt's Riots of 1965 strikes at the heart of institutional racism.
The presentation of 40 selected images enlarges the historical significance of the divide. The 3x5 index size photographs call for the viewer to walk towards and into the image for a more intimate conversation versus a large sized photograph that can be visualized from a farther distance.
This exhibition puts in evidence photography as a form of restoring a community and a people's history. It salvages the undisclosed visuals that become forgotten through time. What does it mean to reside in an underserved community that lacks all possible resources, investment and the opportunities to break the cycle of poverty, and at times, self-destruction?
These images are not just about destruction, chaos, or a moment of catharsis. Armando Cabrera's photography amplifies what professor George Lipsitz describes an underprivilidged and marginalized community: geographical discrimination.
The simmering seen in many of these images evoke a bitter taste of an unconcluded moment in history that demands and calls for justice and retribution for future generations deserving of all possibilities that can assist towards equality and the indigenous belief of BUEN VIVER.