Saturday, June 10, 2017

“Don’t Shoot (Until You See the Whites of Their Eyes)” by Sheila Riess

“Don’t Shoot (Until You See the Whites of Their Eyes)” by Sheila Riess

This is one in a series of posts featuring an artist whose work is included in the Threads of Resistance exhibition.
Artist’s Statement: 
After the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, which left 20 first graders and 6 adults dead, President Obama brought a measure to Congress that sought to block some people with severe mental health problems from buying guns. Mr. Obama wanted to bring about tougher gun control measures but was blocked by Republicans and Democrats alike. When asked about his regrets upon leaving the White House, he replied that his biggest regret was not being able to do more for the victims of Sandy Hook.

Within 60 days of being in the White House, President Trump signed a bill revoking the Obama-era regulation of gun checks for people with mental illness. Gun control advocates fear this is just the first in a series of gun control rollbacks from the Trump administration, since gun lobbyists such as the National Rifle Association applauded Trump’s action. The NRA pushes hard for no gun control legislation and would like to have more Americans purchasing guns with ease. 

My artwork represents how unbalanced the justice system is when dealing with the issue of gun control. In my quilt I have Lady Justice tearing off her blindfold (the symbol of impartiality in matters of justice and law) only to have it cover her mouth and make her unable to speak out against horrors she keeps witnessing due to the lack of gun control in America. Her scales of justice are so unbalanced and weighed heavily with bullets (my symbol for the ever-present NRA). The money in the background represents the big business of the gun lobbyists who use their money and influence to make sure no gun control legislation ever passes in Congress, or, as in the case of President Trump, is repealed immediately. The material used for the binding (which reminded me of men’s ties) is representative of all the politicians and lobbyists who circle around the justice system and squeeze anyone who tries to pass any gun control laws.

Hear a message from Sheila about her piece below:


  1. Very insightful Sheila and a beautiful work of art, too. Kelly M.

  2. Lovely piece, both the concept and execution (no pun intended). I support the Sandy Hook Promise. Readers can read about the extreme risk protection order (ERPO) legislation just introduced in Congress. They need people to sign petition.

    Scarlett B.

  3. Well written and well said, but above all else- well illustrated and quilted!


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