Telling the 1992 LA Uprising Story

Not your typical stroll down memory lane.

Our work at Big Bowl of Ideas often has us driving through creative intersections to show audiences all-around a new path forward. That’s why we were very excited to work with Community Coalition in South LA as they unveiled a month-long celebration/exhibit and discussion series entitled, “Re-Imagine Justice”, a living art exhibit featuring interactive and visual art that tells the story of South LA before, during, and marks the 25th Anniversary of the 1992 LA Uprising.

Heard/UnHeard: Our Community and 1992

We contributed the conceptualization and mounting of an open air community-based installation which served as a timeline before, during and after the uprisings that we called “Heard/UnHeard.”

You can see a PDF version of the entire ‘Heard/Unheard’ installation by clicking here.

When many outside of the South LA community talk about the 1992 Uprisings, what is often ‘heard’ is that which has often been repeated in media loops for two decades. What is often ‘unheard’ is the context and environment that led to the uprisings, the pain of neglect and the energy for justice that has been channeled for South LA in the decades since.

As viewers entered the installation art exhibit, BBOI created a space for them to see facts, hear stories, and relive the emotions of the uprising. Through a visual palette mix of fire and ice, we heated things up with a fiery duotone treatment with every photo in red and yellow replacing black/white. Not only did this amplify the intensity of the historical moments shown displayed, but expressed that energy being transferred to movements for justice even now in the community. Our blue duotones cooled things off a bit and were exclusively composed of quotes from community members either at that time or reflecting upon that time, which also added a bit of balance. We arranged the pieces in multiple sizes and heights creating a ‘swirl’ of sorts as participants could walk a natural path, go around the panels or under them. Like the uprisings themselves, it was all around you no matter your point of entry.

Where Do We Go from Here?

 As we showed in the timeline we created, The events that lead to and during the 1992 LA Uprising not only forced the Los Angeles community to take a long hard look in the mirror, but it ignited a fire of dialogue across the country.

Understanding the stories – heard and unheard – in moments like these remind us that real change doesn’t happen in small story-soundbite packages. It’s critical that we understand the truth of our stories because they ultimately remind us of how capable we are to change an entire system. Together, we have the power to change the world.  Block by block, street by street, city by city, state by state, nation by nation.

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