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Artwork about April 29th, 1992 uprising.

by Mark Vallen - ART FOR A CHANGE Wednesday, May. 01, 2002 at 4:45 PM

I did this Oil Painting based upon what I witnessed in the immediate aftermath of the "not guilty" verdicts for the LAPD Officers who nearly beat Rodney King to death. The April 29th, 1992 acquittal lead to the bloodiest riots in United States history.

Titled "Lost Angeles", my Canvas memorializes the first evening of those riots... which swept all across Los Angeles. I was in downtown L.A. and caught the frightful sight of thousands of people tearing the downtown Government Building district apart. For me, the "flash point" of that fateful night was in front of Parker Center... the LAPD headquarters. Thousands of people had gathered to protest the verdict... and as the size of the demonstration grew, so did it's anger. The Police retreated into their headquarters, locking themselves inside... the crowd burned down the Police parking lot guard post, overturned Police Cars... and then went on a rampage through the area, attacking City Hall, the LA Times building, the Justice Department, Banks, and other buildings representing Government and Financial power.

However, for me, the most memorable sight of the uprising was the dozens of Palm Trees set ablaze by the angry throng. It was simultaneously a beautiful and fearsome vision. That's not a political statement... it's an aesthetic one. Imagine... the internationally famous icon of sunny Southern California... Palm Trees, set ablaze and lighting the violence torn streets of my City. It was truly a vision from Hell and something I hope never to see again.

Since that devastating evening I have not been able to look at Palm Trees in the same way. I created a series of Oil Paintings based on seeing L.A.'s Palm Trees exploding into fire like so many matches. In this particular Painting, you can see the City's famous City Hall building in the distance.

To see more of my political paintings and drawings, please visit my Website, at:


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