Free Medusa
Jeffrey Garland
Digital painting
︎ @jgarland_art

“I initially didn’t select Medusa as a muse, until realizing how her story connected with the concept of my art. Before discovering that, my idea was for a woman to have our area’s subway system represented in the form of hair or dreadlocks as art dedicated to where I live, The Bay Area, California. After thinking about this subway system(BART), I felt that because of past events on BART, it’s current standards, and dare I say greediness of this train corporation that it should have a negative feel to it, hence the snakes. In my childhood BART didn’t seem to have the reputation it has now. It was a clean, quiet and safe alternative for public transportation, just as Medusa was beautiful woman before being cursed to be snake-headed monster we know her to be. BART is now that snake headed monster.

A few years ago, a young African American woman, Nia Wilson, was murdered on that snake-headed monster by a random passenger. In 2009 an African American man, Oscar Grant was murdered by police on that snake-headed monster. Which is why I painted Medusa as a black woman, who I feel has come to be most mistreated people in our country and even the world. Medusa, like Black women are beautiful, and yet because the ignorance of the world around the them have subject to be seen as less than and treated as such. I title my work “Free Medusa” because I want her and black woman to be released from the negative perception and stigma  that the world has placed upon them.“