Updated: Jun 23, 2020
In the wake of George Floyd's death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, artists have been quick to respond with words that see to memorialize, to provoke and to heal.
On Saturday, New York-based Láolú Senbanjo, an artist and former human rights lawyer, posted a photo on Instagram of his watercolor and charcoal painting that depicts Floyd with a target on his chest. The image also features a likeness of Donald Trump, vocalizing the incendiary Tweet he wrote in response to protests and violence in the streets: "When the looting starts, the shooting starts."
"When I see video of men like George Floyd treated as far less than human, I can barely comprehend it," 39-year-old Senbanjo said over email. "His proud face smashed into the pavement. It breaks my heart apart. I've been black all my life, but for the first twenty years I was black in Africa (Nigeria). Now I've been black in America and it is a different experience. America doesn't honor what they have in their black citizens. I couldn't not make art about the killing of George Floyd."
Senbanjo said that art can help with processing trauma: "Every time there is a new senseless death, or blatant manifestation of harmful white supremacy, art can help us to instigate, remember, imagine, discuss, and express these complex experiences and feeling states."
This has to stop and it has to end and it can end, the division is killing us. It is killing all of us, it’s killing our country and it has to end.