Charmed Life: 2020 Version

Artist: Merrill Henson 

Materials: sterling silver

Dimensions: 6 1/4" 

Beneficiary: Don't Shoot PDX is a Black-led human right organization that has, since 2014, implemented art, education and civic participation throughout Portland. Activism on the front lines and police accountability are what drew me to them as an organization.

Artist Statement: As a resident of Portland, OR., nightly protests have become a new normal that I'm trying to accept, but it remains difficult. Not because of the disruption of peace or the  eeriness of nightly helicopters circling above. But because the issues at hand--police brutality, racial inequality, the murder of people of color by police (to name just a few)--have never directly affected me because of white privilege.  A privilege that, I'm ashamed to say, I've taken for granted. I've lived a charmed life, so to speak.

This charm bracelet is my recognition of that privilege I've squandered over the years. A Molotov cocktail, gas mask, bullet, pair of handcuffs and tear gas canister have been created entirely by hand. They're attached to a delicate, handmade silver chain. My aim was to keep the charms small and delicate, creating a juxtaposition between the heaviness of this issue and its presentation.