UNITED > DIVIDED is an interactive, evolving installation by David "MEGGS" Hooke and Miya Tsukazaki (together ‘Temple Children’) created for Thinkspace Gallery’s LAX/DTW: Detroit Hustle II exhibition which opened at Inner State Gallery on June 30, 2017 in Detroit.
This 270-degree experience developed as a three-phase progression, beginning with the initial Divided phase. At the event’s opening, MEGGS and Miya invited friends, artists, and the general public to participate in the artwork’s evolution by painting colorful peace signs and positive messages over the floor on one half of the "X" (a symbol for division).
The intention was to create a genuine experience of people working together to celebrate shared creativity, positivity, and sense of community. “A seemingly small gesture of inviting people into our home studio to paint on the floor side-by-side was a humbling experience overflowing with positive energy,” they said.
The Greater Than ( > ) phase emerged as a result of the public’s involvement, and in the week that followed, MEGGS and Miya transitioned the installation into its final phase, ‘Unified.’ The resulting colorful peace sign leans on its side, a dual expression of the planet’s wavering environmental state and hope for a resurgence of solidarity. They installed living plants and flowers sourced from Eastern Market, creating a juxtaposition of Detroit’s discarded layers and Mother Nature’s revival.
The underlying inspiration for the artwork was their reaction to President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement and was motivated to highlight what human beings are capable of through unification, continued proactivity, and perseverance from the community level up. “The fight against catastrophic climate change begins and ends with us, and we must take responsibility for our own carbon footprints in the name of Mother Earth,” says MEGGS.
The installation itself was created in MEGGS & Miya’s home studio, and made from approximately 90% repurposed and natural materials that the two began collecting in the fall of 2014.