Piece of the Pie: A Premonition Seeking Answer

The conceptual idea of “Piece of the Pie” had been conceived by Del in 2019: a freestanding, interactive art piece with the incorporation of Braille and construction for a tactile, hands-on experience. A creation specific for non-sighted and sighted members of the community. The major premise of PotP was to address, in particular, social and cultural disparities experienced systemically in the BIPOC community.

Then in 2020, the Coronavirus (Covid-19) emerged as a global pandemic and ultimately forced America to acknowledge disparities existing among the haves and the have-nots. It is these disparities Del wished to present for discussion through his sculptural (bordering on furniture) design. Covid-19 brought an urgency for PotP to become a fully complete project, regardless of the obstacles that Del encountered during its slowed production over a two-year period. Based on the many topics Del wished to address, certain limitations forced him to focus on streamlining the scale of the project. Although a multitude of words were considered, Del decided to use twelve power words to incorporate into his interactive art project. Each is to evoke an emotional response as individuals spin a dial to land on one of the following: KING, QUEEN, LOVE, HOPE, CAREER, HEALTH, PROSPER, JUSTICE, EDUCATION, COMMUNITY, HAPPINESS, INCLUSIVE.

There is no denying that, perhaps, America has finally awoken from its complacent deep sleep. It took a sudden and unforgiving virus to reveal the ubiquitous imbalance of socioeconomics, the effects of which not only falling on the BIPOC community but on White working class and poor Whites too.

So, have we arrived at a new state of awareness and a fresh sense of acknowledgement?

Although “Piece of the Pie” was scheduled to be exhibited at the Portland Art Museum in April 2020, Del began to struggle in obtaining materials to complete the project. The closure of stores and public buildings, such as the Portland Art Museum, which suspended exhibitions indefinitely at the height of Covid, prevented PotP from being shown in the spring of 2020. Instead of rushing to complete his interactive piece for showing at PAM, Del decided to maximize the finest possibilities in the final execution of the artwork, which was then completed during the fall of 2021.

On Sunday October 24, 2021, the Multnomah County Library in downtown Portland became the backdrop for “Piece of the Pie,” as Del spontaneously asked the library to provide their site to showcase the finalized project, to be shared among its patrons and community members.

“Piece of the Pie” is still without a scheduled date for public showing at PAM, due to Covid and insecurities surrounding the composition as a tactile artwork to be experienced by all by way of touch.

Can we administer controlled supervision, or does Covid-19 or our answerless politicians continue to dictate the never-ending journey that persists? In the long run, this may simply mean we make lifestyle changes and learn to live with Covid and its many variants.

Size: 26" x 26" x 26"

Medium: Black walnut, African black wood, lathed plastic, brass tack