After the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, people all over the world have been protesting systemic racism and police brutality. Protest comes in many forms, with art being one of them.
Just think of famous creators like Keith Haring and Theaster Gates, who both use art to take a stand and raise awareness around key issues.
Murals in public spaces are a particularly poignant way to get a message across – they're easily accessible and will likely be seen by a lot of people. These are some of the most powerful examples of public art protesting for the Black Lives Matter movement all over the world…
Large scale murals painted onto roads have popped up all around the US. The first was in Washington DC, a few blocks away from the White House, saying "Black Lives Matter". Since then, similar murals – some updated to say "All Black Lives Matter" in light of the increased conversation around black trans lives being disregarded – have been painted in cities like LA, New York and Dallas.
George Floyd's death was the catalyst for Black Lives Matter protests all over the world, and many murals have been dedicated to saying his name, showing his face and honouring his memory. This mural was painted in Houston's Third Ward, where Floyd grew up, and features him with angel wings. The halo above his head is made with the words "Forever breathing in our hearts", in reference to some of Floyd's last words – "I can't breathe" – which have since become a haunting tagline for the movement.
In fact, his face has appeared in public art everywhere – like this mural in West Dublin.
Sadly, Floyd is not the only African American to have lost his life too soon. Indianapolis artist Mechi Shakur has painted murals all over the city, and he's using his platform to remember other individuals who have died including Trayvon Martin and Philando Castile.
With many shops closed because of the pandemic, shopfronts have increasingly been used for public art and graffiti. This mural, painted on the boarded up Apple Store in Boston, memorialises Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Tony McDade – who all lost their lives this year – as well as Marsha P Johnson.
Johnson was a black gay rights activist who died in 1992, and is being remembered this June in honour of Pride month.
Prominent figures in the fight for racial equality are also frequent subjects for public art. This London mural shows Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr with the words: "I have a dream."
Public art is a way of expressing a city's personality and history, and this piece of graffiti in Edinburgh shows its support for Black Lives Matter in a uniquely Scottish way.