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Janeil
Engelstad

Projects & Exhibitions

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Boundaries / Color Wars Jazime Dolby, Erica Grand, Jack Lopez, and Will Orellano, 1999, mixed media, © Janeil Engelstad, All Rights Reserved

Boundaries / Color Wars Jazime Dolby, Erica Grand, Jack Lopez, and Will Orellano, 1999, mixed media, © Janeil Engelstad, All Rights Reserved

Community Art Project Los Angeles, California

Project Director / Teaching Artist with the participation of Jazime Dolby, Erica Grand, Jack Lopez, and Will Orellano

A co-production of World Studio Foundation and Heart of Los Angeles Youth

Funded by World Studio Foundation and Samy’s Camera Los Angeles

Color Wars was produced with teenagers whose lives were impacted by the presence of gangs in their neighborhoods.  The project began with workshops about cartography, the function of colors and symbols in our lives and community values. During these discussions a map was created of the gang-dominated segments of Los Angeles that told the story of how these teens saw their world.

Color is the most dominant aspect of this map. The girls who participated in the project wore any color clothes at any time and anywhere. The boys, who might have been associated with a gang just by virtue of their gender, had to be more careful about what they wore. For example, they would not have worn a red shirt in Crip territory, which is blue. Dressed in red, they might have been mistaken for a Blood, and possibly shot.

Hundreds of thousands of people a day, from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds, walk, drive, work, and shop in the neighborhoods on this map. Many of them have little knowledge of the extensive gang activity in these places. This map provided a place for them to begin to understand how the young people who live in these same neighborhoods experience life.