When Tim Okamura (MFA 1993 Illustration as Visual Essay) came to New York City to attend SVA in 1991, his orientation to his new surroundings was jolting, to say the least. Within the first couple days, Okamura witnessed the riots that broke out in Crown Heights, Brooklyn when a vehicle from a prominent rabbi’s motorcade lost control and killed a seven-year-old boy whose parents were from Guyana. “I was bombarded with trying to understand who everybody was, what happened, why everybody was rioting, why people were getting killed,” Okamura told The New York Times recently. “I had to wrap my head around a lot, all within 48 hours of moving here.”
Now Okamura and 22 other artists are part of an exhibition called “Crown Heights Gold” (on view at Skylight Gallery, 1368 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, 718.636.6949), which looks back at the riots and examines race relations, politics, and community. For the show, Okamura has included his painting entitled “King David,” a rendition of former mayor David Dinkins, who faced harsh criticism for his handling of the riots.