WESTFIELD, NJ — An art exhibit created by several Westfield students and displayed at a recent district-wide art show is drawing criticism from police officers. The display, titled “Law Enforcement — Police Brutality,” includes images of a man stabbed in the back by a badge and several of guns aimed at unarmed figures.
Artists’ statements are included below each piece.
“I am generally opposed to all forms of government control, and with the common occurrence of slaughtering innocents on the high-rise this was my prime reason to protest,” wrote one student.
Below the image of a bloody figure stabbed by a police badge, a student wrote, “The message that I am trying to convey is how some police officers have spilled the blood of many innocent people.”
According to one source, officers around the world are sharing photos of the display on social media and encouraging each other to email complaints to Superintendent Margaret Dolan, and hundreds have responded.
Some have posted their thoughts about the exhibit in the review section of a Facebook page about WHS.
“Disgusting that this school allows projects depicting false police brutality. Should be ashamed of yourself,” wrote one user whose profile photo is a police badge.
Another Facebook user wrote, “Disgusted with your prejudicial so-called display of art that promotes violence by labeling police as brutalists. Funny that all school teachers aren't called sex offenders because of an occasional inappropriate relationship with students. Treat law enforcement the same way!”
The exhibit is part of the district’s annual art show, which was open to the public at Westfield High School from May 12 to May 14 at 2 p.m. It was part of a sampling of hundreds of works of art created by students representing all 10 Westfield public schools and grades ranging from kindergarten through 12th grade.
Westfield School District has not yet commented.
UPDATE: To read Westfield School Superintendent Dr. Margaret Dolan's response to this article, click here.