Aminah W. Chaudhry
Wherever there is brutality, there is resistance and wherever there is resistance there is art. Art has always been a strong expression by human beings, and I believe the world has always seen great events covered by art itself, whether it is in the form of songs of resistance, theater, poetry, or from digital paintings to public art and of course, murals like the one you can see above by Jorit, a street artist in southern Italy who is posing in front of a mural he painted of George Floyd with honoring him by putting him in the center of the world’s greatest leaders Lenin, Martin Luther King, Malcom X and Angela Davis.
George Floyd was a 46 years old black American who was killed on May 25 by police and law enforcement personnel. Floyd’s murder triggered the entire world and made them stand up to show global solidarity against racism and injustice.
With everything that is happening with their nation, Aziz Asmar and Anis Hamdoun, the two Syrian artists are painting this mural for George Floyd and showing their support for #BlackLivesMatter, in a place that seems completely bombarded.
In America, protestors came out in large numbers both blacks and whites standing together in rage against the misuse of power. Their protests shook not only the walls of the white house in Washington DC but the entire world.
The way artists chose to stand with them was not only by holding placards and slogans of BLM but by producing art in different forms that could scream for them louder than their worlds. In the picture below an artist carries his painting in the protest for Floyd in New York.
Banners of George Floyd’s last words are all over the streets and even circulating on social media, In Berlin, this mural shows his last words along with Floyd, an amazing artwork by Jesus Cruz Artiles, a Dominican graffiti artist.
From the walls of Belin, to this picture taken in a refugee camp in Gaza, we see a Palestinian digital artist Munes al-Salih who is drawing a portrait of George Floyd.
On the very spot where Floyd took his last breath before being killed in the police custody, this Mural stand 20 feet wide and 6.5 tall in the face of the brutality committed by the Minneapolis Police Department. In less than a day a group of artists Adex Herrera, Greta McLain, and Xena Goldman gathered to create this artwork which becomes a place where the entire city came together and mourned over the injustice that took place. This artwork shows a sunflower surrounding Floyd, with the names of other black Americans like him who died for being black in a white supremacist country. The fists of protesters representing the idea of revolt against racism with George Floyd’s name and words “I Can’t Breathe Now.”
On the day of Floyd’s memorial, the background image for it was also based on the same artwork, taken to the national TV for the world to see.
Where the world paid a tribute to George Floyd and stood for BLM, the last image is of the artwork by a Pakistani painter, Kamal Hayat based in Lahore, who aswell through his fascinating expression of art paid a homage to Floyd.
In Pakistan, there are many brilliant artists who have been presenting their art in the form of many mediums, where a progressive poet like Faiz Ahmed Faiz wrote his revolutionary poetry “Hum Dekhein Gy” (We will witness), Iqbal Bano decided to sing it as a song openly resisting the poet’s arrest for raising his voice against the oppression under General Zia ul Haq’s regime. With an audience of more than 50,000 people, Iqbal Bano stepped up on the stage wearing a black sari to even oppose the dictator’s ban on sari. After her moving performance and Faiz’s strong words, people towards the end chanted slogans of “Inquilab Zindabad” – “Long Live Revolution!” To this day, Faiz’s poetry is read and sung in protests against the state oppression. Likewise, many other forms of art are produced and performed along with protests and resistance. Many innocent lives like George Floyd are lost here by the state brutality and many here refuse to stay silent on that, hoping for days when there will be no more George Floyds lost anywhere in the world.