Art and Activism: India March ’18 Speaks Against Racial Injustice

Created: October 14, 2020
Last Updated: October 14, 2020

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This wasn’t the way India March ’18 expected her year to go. While furloughed from a new marketing position with the Miami Marlins baseball team due to the COVID-19 pandemic, March found herself back home in Washington, Pa. when George Floyd’s death prompted a surge in national activism for racial equity.

March lent her voice to local racial injustice protests—and thanks to support from W&J College and some generous patrons of the arts, she found a greater voice through her art.

“There’s no room for ignorance in life anymore, and I wanted to do something,” said the communication arts and studio art major.

March set out to design wooden representations of nine recent victims of racial injustice, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery.

The series was modeled after her senior exhibition at W&J, depicting representational images of the heads and shoulders of women of different cultures. She recently sold those pieces as part of a campaign to raise funds for the family of Breonna Taylor, who was killed by police in Louisville, Ky.

March reached out to W&J President John C. Knapp, Ph.D., her connections in the art department, and Director of Campus & Public Safety Jonathan Miles, who granted her permission to use a campus art studio and wood-working equipment for one week.

“I expected to take a week in the studio,” March said, “but I was so motivated to get it done  that I completed it in a day and a half.”

She called her series “Oji,” which means “black” in Igbo, a language spoken in Nigeria, part of March’s ancestry. In three days, she posted—and sold—the nine pieces of art on Instagram and Facebook. She then donated 50 percent of the proceeds, $500, to 1Hood Media, a Pittsburgh-based collective of socially conscious artists/activists.

“Part of this movement is to support black artists,” March said. “For me, it’s about spreading love and positivity.”

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