A participatory artwork commissioned by the City of Inglewood Public Art Program to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Inspired by Dr. King’s speech to junior high school students.
“Number one in your life’s blueprint should be a deep belief in your own dignity, your worth and your own somebodiness. Don’t allow anybody to make you feel that you’re nobody. Always feel that you count. Always feel that you have worth, and always feel that your life has ultimate significance.” —Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In the fall of 2019, Michele Asselin met with 15 Inglewood high school students to embark on a project exploring personal value and community. The group used this quotation by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as their starting point and reflected on those who instill youth with personal dignity, individual significance and a sense of self.
Through group discussion, recollection, and sketching each student identified a person who had fostered their sense of self-worth to create a work about.
Honest, thoughtful, vulnerable, and diligent, the youth brought energy and excitement, and often great emotion, to the sessions. Portrait sessions and interviews with tears and hugs revealed family stories, childhood nicknames and words of wisdom.
These portraits and texts show how the ideas of Martin Luther King, Jr. may be embodied by us all.