Color is not a crime: remembering George Floyd, a year after his death

‘Color is not a crime’ in New York

To honor the life and mourn the loss of George Floyd, many artists and activists alike have taken to art to express the immense grief and anger felt throughout their communities and the world. His death sent shockwaves throughout the world, and was a catalyst for many people’s deeper realization of the realities of police brutality and racism, both in the United States and abroad. Many unexpected places began protesting and joined the fight, and more murals are being created on walls the world over to memorialize George Floyd and ensure that the Black Lives Matter movement, which was taken up by many more people after Floyd’s tragic death, remains in the public consciousness.

‘Taking the knee’ in New York

On Tuesday, April 20, 2021, the jury in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was accused of killing George Floyd, found him guilty on all three counts faced: Second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin will be sentenced in the coming weeks.

Members and allies of the Black community were relieved that some measure of justice has been achieved for George Floyd. However, it is clear that there is still much work to be done. These large works of protest art promote solidarity, remembrance, and commitment to the causes of equality, justice, and the Black Lives Matter movement. Learn how to support the Black Lives Matter movement and become anti-racist.

Houston, Texas
A man kneels in front of a memorial and mural of George Floyd on the wall of a corner store, near where Floyd grew up in Houston. At the top of the mural, the writing states “forever breathing in our hearts.”
Denver, Colorado
A mural in Denver, Colorado, on a wall along Colfax Avenue depicting Floyd and a series of flowers.
‘Can’t breathe’ in New York
A portrait of George Floyd in Venice.
A mural of George Floyd in L.A.’s Melrose District.
Naples, Italy. Reminiscent of religious artwork of Jesus and the Virgin Mary weeping blood, this powerful mural by street artist Jorit Agoch also depicts other important cultural and revolutionary figures, as befits its statement of “Time to change the world.” From left to right: Vladimir Lenin, Martin Luther King, George Floyd, Malcolm X, and Angela Davis.
Houston, Texas
A heart was painted on the ground in front of this mural on a wall just a few miles from where George Floyd grew up, in Houston’s Third Ward.
Gaza City, Palestine
In turbulent Gaza City, Palestinian artist Ayman al-Housari painted this mural of George Floyd. The Black Lives Matter movement, which started in 2013 by three Black women, was boosted once more into the public and global consciousness with the tragic death of Floyd. Displaced and marginalized communities the world over have expressed solidarity with the movement.
Barcelona, Spain
A mural by TVBoy in Barcelona, Spain, depicts Floyd as an angel, holding a typical stop sign that encourages the end of racism.
Berlin, Germany
Nairobi, Kenya
Mural by artists Allan Mwangi (Mr. Detail Seven) and Brian Esendi (Bankslave) in Nairobi, Kenya, in the middle of a neighborhood.
Idlib, Syria
Artist Aziz Asmar paints a mural on a wall standing amongst rubble in Idlib, Syria, with the face of Floyd.
Miami, Florida
A mural depicts the faces of Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Colin Kaepernick in the Overtown neighborhood of Miami, Florida.
Louisville, Kentucky
This mural on 11th Street in Louisville shows the faces of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, David McAtee, and Sandra Bland, all of whom were either fatally shot by police or died in police custody. The text reads “Say Their Names,” a powerful phrase building off the #SayHerName movement started by the African American Policy Forum after the death of Sandra Bland in 2015. The movement strives to address the erasure of Black individuals killed by police brutality, as well as memorializing the victims.

Across the US, artists have responded to the death of George Floyd and the ensuing protests with impactful and urgent work. Artworks have appeared supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, and remembering the deaths of, among others, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain and Eric Garner.

‘Say their names’ in New York
‘Say their names’ in New York
Here is one of many Black Lives Matter murals in downtown Raleigh that were created after the death of George Floyd. The local artists who created them have a powerful message to share about how black lives matter and the need for equal justice.
A mural of George Floyd by artist Mario Medina, with assistance by Celos, on South Broadway in downtown Los Angeles.

Source: The Guardian; Reader’s Digest