Black Lives Matter mural painting in Kensington black woman with target on her hands and birds flying away from her hands

A visual response to the “Giving wings to the Dream,” mural controversy in our city. The citizens’ reaction to the city’s plan to replace the 25-year-old mural with a BLACK LIVES MATTER mural included violent threats, racist remarks. It characterized the movement as radical, left-wing propaganda.  

One of the few positives that emerged from the rejection of the project is that the underlying racism present in this city became publicly exposed. With this revelation, an honest conversation about race can take place.  My mission when designing the mural was to continue the conversation.

The name “Don’t shoot the messenger,” is a call out to the violent and deadly police brutality against innocent Black people. The image is symbolic of the artist’s role in society as the message carrier.

In the mural, a black Artist is shown creating a bird gesture with her hands (which is a nod to the “Giving wings to the dream,” mural), demonstrating that the artist is a bird used to carry out the message BLACK LIVES MATTER. Other blackbirds emerge from the hand gesture and continue the spread of the message. Join me in carrying on the conversation.

Completed: Oct 6, 2020

Located: on the East side of 1187 Kensington Close NW, a residential house adjacent to the surface parking lot.

CBC News coverage of the installation and artist’s inspiration and message. (Click to play.)

The Artist: Sydonne Warren

Syd The Artiste, also known as Sydonne Warren, is a Calgary based Visual Artist who began her self taught art journey in 2013. Since then, Sydonne has developed into a professional Artist, Instructor and Designer and finally a student at Alberta University of the Arts. Sydonne predominantly creates portraits but has recently explored abstract works. Her artwork often showcases a combination of high contrasted subjects, bold but straightforward colour pallets, and a mixture of expressive strokes, drips and rigid lines. Sydonne’s themes are usually a reflection of herself and her desire for people of the African diaspora not only to occupy but impact and own space. 

Website |  Instagram: @sydtheartiste

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