Two new murals in Yellow Springs pay tribute to George Floyd and the protest movement held in response to his death.
Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died May 25 after a police officer pressed his knee into his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Appalled by the death, Yellow Springs artist Pierre Nagley said he took action as the protests spread across the country. “I felt like I needed to contribute my skills to the effort,” he said.
Nagley painted a portrait of Floyd on concrete blocks circled by the words “Enough is Enough is Enough is Enough is Enough.”
“I heard people saying, ‘enough is enough’ and I felt like it was the best phrase to express what was happening,” he said.
The background is a silhouette of the United States in shades of blue and purple with orange flames signifying protest sites.
“I can’t breathe!,” and “Mama!,” among the last words Floyd said, share the space with images of the coronavirus, a reminder the killing is not the only crisis facing the world right now.
“There are hundreds of thousands of voices crying out for a change,” Nagley said. “To do the mural was giving an extra voice to a cry for change and more civil policing.
“It comes back to ‘enough is enough.’ We have to figure out a better way.”
The large-scale paintings are located in Kieth’s Alley, an area stretching behind Xenia Avenue businesses where artists have created murals since the late 1980s.
Next to Nagley’s mural, Lindsay Burke of Xenia has begun painting her first solo painting.
Inspired by the local protests she’s participated in as well as national activities, Burke has painted a phoenix rising above images of a burning Minneapolis police station and crowds of protesters.
“In this otherwise dark time their inspiration has been a point of light for me,” she said. “I hope people can see the beautiful things around them in their community.”
Using spray paint Burke gradually changes her mural from darker tones to vibrant shades of red, orange and pink. She plans to finish by next week if the weather permits.
“What I hope to convey with the phoenix rising out of the ashes is this should be a moment for empowerment of the people, so we can see a better tomorrow because of the work we are doing today.”
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