In my work, the placement of the barrel (drum) perpendicular on the wall above an open square represents the third eye. It is the careful observation of the third eye that has allowed me to navigate the minefield of life as a Black man. Ever since I was a child growing up in a simple, poor, working-class neighborhood in Georgetown, Guyana, I developed an awareness that I always had to be acutely aware of my surroundings and of what was going on at all times, even when I was playing outdoors. I learned to acknowledge any sense of danger and know when to leave.
After living in Canada for about a year, in the summer of 1970, I was stopped by the cops right in front of the front door to my basement apartment in Point Saint Charles, a poor, working-class, French-Canadian neighborhood of Montreal. Without explanation, I was immediately told to put my hands on top of the car, I was patted down, handcuffed and thrown into the back seat of the police car. I was taken to the station house, told to take off my belt and then locked in a cell with a toilet and a bed with a bare mattress where I remained for six hours. At midnight, I was taken to a room with a large glass window and told to look straight ahead at the window. After standing there for a long while, six Black men joined me and told to do the same.
After the lineup, I was finally given an explanation as to why I was picked up. The explanation was that there had been a robbery at the drugstore located two blocks away, and at the time, I was the first Black person that they saw close by and one of the very few Black people living in that area.