The Soul Box Project prompts action by displaying thousands of origami Soul Boxes made by people from all over the U.S. Because gunfire deaths and injuries have been escalating for decades, any exhibit of Soul Boxes can only represent a portion of those who have been shot. Still, large or small, these collections evoke a visceral, emotional impact prompting visitors to take some kind of personal action.
The video below shows the exhibit of 15,000 Soul Boxes at the Multnomah Art Center in April 2019 - one for every person killed or injured by gunfire in the U.S. during the first three months of that year.
While COVID-19 is limiting exhibits in museums, schools, churches and other communal spaces, you can now explore the online exhibit from your home. The exhibit will expand by 30 panels every month. Each panel is a 4' x 2' collection of 98 Soul Boxes made by people across the country.
Visitors to the online exhibit can enlarge images and examine individual Soul Boxes. Many of these small works of art honor victims by name. Many more Soul Boxes feature imagery or messages of support, protest, or hope. Our goal for the online exhibit is to post 365 display panels–over 35,000 Soul Boxes–to represent people killed by gunfire in just one year.
Display panels are only part of the exhibits. Thousands more Soul Boxes–unadorned, or naming a victim already included on a panel–are an important element in the dramatic staging of events.
The video below shows another way to present the thousands of Soul Boxes. Gathering the Soul Boxes in large, clear bags allows event participants to reverently carry the burden of these losses in processions. These Soul Boxes hold space for the majority of gunfire victims who are seldom publicly named: suicides represent 61% of gunfire deaths. Thousands more unnamed victims are injured in all kinds of gun-related incidents.
This Soul Box Project procession, at the Oregon State Capitol in February 2019, honored the over 36,000 lives lost gunfire in 2018, many whose names we will never know.