The notion of humanity is at the core of Farley Aguilar’s practice. He is concerned with the structural and institutional violence, bolstered by cultural conditioning, that sustains American ideology and perpetuates cycles of oppression. A sense of social justice undergirds Aguilar’s canvases: an intimation that if history is acknowledged and its remnants confronted, new paths forward can be forged.
"Scottsboro Boys, 1931" is based on a photograph of nine Black teenagers accused of raping two white women on a train traveling between Chattanooga and Memphis, Tennessee. The Scottsboro Boys trial was one of the most famous, or infamous, cases related to race relations in the 20th century of the United States. Aguilar calls attention to our contemporary parallels.