Puppets Against the Police State
Founded during the George Floyd Uprising in 2020, Puppets Against the Police State (PAPS) creates puppets, props and performances to bring joy, humor and hype to the movement for Black Liberation and intersecting struggles.
We make accessible imagery and drama that educates, empowers, and encourages active participation in creating a liberated world.
Our organization works collectively on large scale art and warmly welcomes people of all skills and abilities.
We have created art for protests and community events for organizations such as: Detroit Will Breathe, Detroit Disability Justice, and Waawiyatinong Resistance.
I had the privilege to work as Art Director for Jae Bass of Detroit Will Breathe for the 18th Annual Detroit MLK Day Virtual Rally & Cultural Program. The video featured puppets and props made by Puppets Against the Police State for the song "Fed Up".
FROM THE PUPPETS AGAINST POLICE ARCHIVE
EXPLANATION OF THE ART:
The burning cop car:
The aim of this prop is to appropriate and subvert the purpose of the cop car, a tool typically used for the racist surveillance of Black bodies, and turn that into a tool to provide real care to our community! The hood of the car opens to reveal a storage space filled with water bottles for thirsty protestors and other supplies for our street medic team.
These gravestones are "engraved" in sharpie by protestors and community members writing what racist policies they hope to leave behind in the liberated future.
The RIP stands for “Rest in Piss:"
Rest in Piss to the Police State! Rest in Piss to ICE! Rest in Piss to Qualified Immunity, Militarized Policing, and Stop and Frisk!
Pretend for a moment that all of the rottenness in the world could be pushed into a box and buried in the ground. After years and years do you think it might grow into a tree or come back to haunt us?
Giant Solidarity Fists:
The raised fist has long been a universal symbol of solidarity and support. We raise these giant fists as symbols of our unity, strength and resistance. Our fists are painted in many colors: Black Fists, Rainbow Fists, Trans Flag Fists, and Four Directions Fists. The Fists collectively represent our intertwined struggles for Liberation and evokes the struggles, movements, and ancestors who fought to get us to where we are today.
"Life is a Highway" archival ink print on paper
The following photos document my visit to Minneapolis in September 2020 and draw a connection between the imagery for black liberation used by PAPS in Detroit and various artists in Minneapolis and beyond.