As many of us continue to grapple with emotions as a result of the senseless death of George Floyd, who was murdered by former police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, protests across the country—and around the world—continue to clog roadways with calls to end racism and police brutality. Standing in solidarity with these marchers, local artists from every corner of the globe are also taking their grief and anger to the streets—but in a different way.
Days after Floyd’s murder, a colorful mural went up at the intersection where the 46-year-old was choked to death. The statement was profound. Created by a team of street artists that included Xena Goldman, Cadex Herrera, Greta McLain, Niko Alexander, and Pablo Hernandez, the artwork incorporated many poignant flourishes, including a large sunflower symbolizing the light Floyd brought to his community.
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Say his name! @xenadecia @gretamclain @rbbreen @nikoalexander9 @maria.javier.98434997 @dog_bowl_repairman honored to have been a part of this tribute to George Floyd and to work with these amazing artists and the community #truthtopower #restinpower #sayhisname #georgefloyd #stopthekilling #icantbreathe #justiceforgeorgefloyd #blacklivesmatter
In Houston, Texas, a childhood friend of George Floyd asked artist Donkeeboy to create a memorial across the street from where he grew up. Floyd’s friends and family even gathered around to bear witness during the mural’s creation.
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After a full-day project with @donkeemom, I received a message from OG MUGZ asking me if I could paint a memorial mural for his very good friend, George Floyd. Encouraged by my mother and despite the exhaustion, we agreed to create something that same day that would help remember Big Floyd. We quickly gathered materials and headed to Third Ward. The wall is located across the street from where George Floyd grew up. I must admit, this was the first time painting where I felt sad and honored at the same time. Hearing stories about George from those that gathered around was something else. His friends and loved ones are the reason I included the word “GHETTO" on the shirt. Everyone said, “That was him!” and, “He wore those shirts all the time,” and, “It needs to be on there.” Humbled to even be considered to paint this mural, but I hope this is the last one like it I have to paint. I hope when all of you see this in person, it serves as a remembrance of George Floyd and the symbol for Equality he has become. #georgefloyd #blm
In addition to the homegrown artwork, countless other examples have popped up around the world, indicating that this spate of attacks on unarmed black men and women is more than just an American problem.
Syrian artists Aziz Asmar and Anis Hamdoun became emboldened to create their own mural. So, too, have others in Toronto, Canada; Manchester, UK; even a swatch of the former Berlin Wall has been repurposed to display a profile of Floyd, including some of the last words he spoke: “I Can’t Breathe.”
No one is soon to forget George Floyd’s name or any of the names of those who have been felled by systemic racism. And, fortunately, these works of art will carry those names for even longer.