Sheldon Scott in conversation about “ART AND ACTIVISM” with Halim Flowers. As part of the Another World Is Possible film festival, Sheldon Scott sits down Halim Flowers to discuss his life and artistic expression.
I’m considered a “superpredator” yet I believe that “Love is the Antibody”. After having been sentenced to life in prison at the age of 16, “superpredator” is the title I was given. Held in a cage for 22 years, I began crafting my method of artistic expression to find some sense of peace in a hopeless place. Rather than combust, I marinated; and now I am able to decant on canvas, in a manner that is coherent to me, all that I learned during my years of unstructured tutelage in the prison library—a resource for which I am sorely grateful. Although branded a “superpredator”, I embrace it, transcend it, and I have no shame of it. My goal is to invest resources into educating others with my art. I use the language of visual art and spoken word to further my Love Reformation. I believe that love is the antibody to all social inequalities. I use my creativity to understand and deconstruct, with love, social constructs that incite hatred. Poetry, spoken word, photography, and my art materials become erstwhile weapons of mass construction.
My mission is to love everyone unconditionally, all of the time. Through my Love Reformation, my purpose is to live the love that I want to see in the world to inspire others to love radically beyond the superficial barriers that serve to separate us, barriers that obscure the fact that we are all connected to each other.
I started painting because of my wife, L. Patrice McKinney, an artist. Strolling around Georgetown, we dropped by Blick Art Materials to stock up on oil sticks, acrylics, charcoal, paper and canvases. At home, she took me through the basics of mixing colors and taping off sections of canvas. The rest, well… it’s been a whirlwind.
Autodidact, Halim A. Flowers (b. 1980, Washington, DC) visual artist, spoken word performer, businessman, and author of eleven published non-fiction works, is married to L. Patrice McKinney, raising a family in Washington, DC. A Member of the Board of Directors of The Frederick Douglass Project for Justice and Cultural DC, he is an ardent advocate for human rights and is best known for his quote, “Love is the Antibody”. In the short time since the Incarceration Reduction Amendment Act of 2016 effectuated his 2019 release from prison, he has created a stunning spectrum of paintings and spoken word comprised of a benevolent mission forged and galvanized over decades in a pressure cooker: http://lims.dccouncil.us/Download/35539/B21-0683-SignedAct.pdf
In 1997, as a minor, Halim A. Flowers was arrested and wrongfully sentenced to two life sentences in Washington, DC. His experiences aired on HBO in the Emmy award-winning documentary “Thug Life in DC”. Released under a new juvenile lifer resentencing law, Flowers’ 2019 freedom was documented by Kim Kardashian-West’s “The Justice Project” film. Upon release, he was awarded the Halcyon Arts Lab and Echoing Green fellowship awards. In 2020, Flowers’ TEDx Talk, “Criminal Justice Reform”, and his prolific production and exhibition of his visual art, e.g., The Museum of Modern Art’s “Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration” exhibit, continue to advance his mission to promote love among all humans. A beneficiary of Georgetown University’s Prison and Justice Initiative, Flowers studied Government, Philosophy, Reparations: African-American Literature, and English 101 in a mentorship with academic advisor, Professor Marc Morjé Howard (2018-2019). More recently, as a grant recipient from the Art for Justice Fund, Flowers was featured as a “Justice Ambassador” in the film “Halim’s Hope”.