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A closeup painting of a teary eye, that shows the reflection of a police officer

Collateral Damage


In the evocative oil painting by Jonathon Romain, viewers are immediately drawn into a powerful and chilling portrayal of an eye, within which is captured a police officer's gun pointing directly into the pupil. This striking imagery serves not only as an artistic expression but as a poignant commentary on the deep-seated distrust that many African Americans harbor towards authority figures, with a specific focus on the police.


This distrust is not unfounded but is rooted in a long and complex history of systemic injustices that African Americans have faced in the United States. Romain's artwork resonates with historical events such as the harrowing killing of George Floyd and the brutal beating of Rodney King, which are stark reminders of the racial disparities and abuses of power that persist in the American justice system.


Furthermore, the piece echoes the infamous Dred Scott case, highlighting the enduring legacy of systemic racism that traces back to the darkest chapters of American history. After the abolition of slavery, many African Americans found themselves ensnared in a new cycle of oppression, where they were systematically rounded up and charged with bogus crimes, becoming de facto slaves once more through convict leasing and forced labor.


Jonathon Romain, who has experienced police brutality firsthand while growing up on the west side of Chicago, infuses his personal narrative into this artwork. His experiences lend authenticity and depth to the painting, making it not just a piece of art but a profound statement on the African American experience with law enforcement and the criminal justice system.


Through his use of oil paint, Romain meticulously captures the intensity and emotion of the subject. The eye, a universal symbol of perception and understanding, is transformed into a battleground where the very essence of trust is undermined by the menacing presence of a gun. This imagery forces the viewer to confront the uncomfortable reality that for many African Americans, the organs meant to serve and protect represent a very real threat.


Jonathon Romain's painting is more than just an artistic endeavor; it is a courageous exploration of themes that are both topical and timeless. By embedding complex historical and contemporary narratives within his work, Romain invites viewers to reflect on the painful truths of racial injustice and the urgent need for understanding, reform, and healing. Through the universal language of art, he challenges us to see the world through the lens of those whose trust has been shattered time and again—not to incite division, but to inspire a collective search for justice and empathy.

  • Additional Information

    34" x 44"

    Limited Edition of 45 Giclees


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