PROXIMITY was a collaborative art installation led by Trap Heals that ran from Jan. 17-26 in South Los Angeles in conjunction with the nationwide release of the film JUST MERCY.Through art and a slate of programming that centered system-impacted individuals, Proximity intended to increase public engagement around policy reforms, shift public opinion on incarcerated individuals and amplify the work of local criminal justice organizations.
To bring attendees proximate to incarceration and create a space for healing, the space included yoga, reiki and acupuncture practitioners and art pieces that brought folks closer to the realities of people who are currently incarcerated. Four phone booths created by Leimert Park Phone Co., gave attendees the chance to hear the stories of currently incarcerated people as well as messages from their friends and families.
Nightly programming also worked to narrow the distance around incarceration.
Jan. 19 was anchored around a Play for Justice panel discussion, where dancer Chloe Arnold, former NFL player and criminal justice advocate Brian Banks, and former Green Bay Packers running back Johnathan Franklin talked about the role of sports and art in activism and community work.
On Jan. 21 was a night of healing through music, with Los Angeles-based Las Cafeteras performing and Coldplay stopping by, fresh off of a benefit concert at the Hollywood Bowl for Reform Jails LA.
On Jan. 24, Represent Justice surrogate Jarret Harper shared his experience of how multiple forms of abuse in the foster care system led to his incarceration until Gov. Gavin Newsome commuted his sentence. His words were brought to life by lyrical dancer Natali Micciche.
The following day, a number of poets including Represent Justice surrogate Halim Flowers and members of the Trapped Artist collective used their art to diminish the stigma around incarceration.
And on Jan. 26, as the entire city of Los Angeles was mourning the death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, inter-faith leaders gathered at Proximity after a screening of JUST MERCY to pray for those impacted by the loss and for incarcerated individuals and their loved ones.