NYC Artists use Street Art to Spread Messages of Support for Black Lives Matter

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Video Discription: June 2020 - New York City: The killing of George Floyd marked a turning point in the Black Lives Matter movement, prompting worldwide activism against systemic racism and police brutality. Many have met this call to action by protesting in the streets, signing petitions, contacting government officials, and making donations and rallying friends and family to do the same. NYC artists Daniel Bonilla, Denis Ouch, along with Japan’s Satoshi Fujita turned to art- using a boarded-up NYC as their public canvass to spread messages of solidarity and hope.

Daniel Bonilla, an artist and longtime Inwood resident, felt the need to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement in his community. With the help of Susana Osorio, the owner of MamaSushi on Dyckman Street, he began the process of painting a mural of George Floyd on the boarded-up restaurant storefront. Osorio donated the paint to Bonilla and other community artists, and spoke to fellow business owners on the street to convince them to allow art on their storefronts as well. Dyckman Street was soon lined with artwork by Bonilla and other community artists, baring support for the movement and paying tribute to Floyd. Bonilla hopes the artwork succeeds in echoing awareness throughout his “melting pot” community of Inwood, and that it ultimately spreads a “positive message out of something negative.”

Brooklyn-based artist Denis Ouch felt a similar urgency to show support for the movement through street art. Ouch began tagging various boarded-up buildings throughout the city with the same African-American Superman rendering. Ouch, who grew up in Moscow, explains that he chose Superman because he symbolizes “strength and indestructibility,” and represents “justice.” He felt compelled to spread this image in the hopes that people would notice it and get inspired to fight for the right cause.

Japanese artist Satoshi Fujita, who works under the moniker Dragon76, felt a similar call to action. Fujita created a giant mural in tribute to Floyd on the Lower East Side, and hopes that it will inspire people to take action in response to the problem of racism. As a Japanese artist, Fujita notes an overall “Coexist” theme is present in most of his work, and hopes that this tribute to Floyd serves as a visual reinforcement of the need for justice in the wake of systemic prejudice.

Black Lives Matter artwork has popped up in cities all over the world in the wake of Floyd’s murder. Murals and emblazoned streets serve as backdrops to protests that continue to consume cities and towns across the globe, as the fight for justice continues on.

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