[Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.] Natasha Gural (Forbes) writes about artists’ responses to George Floyd’s death and systemic racism. Here is a section in which she discusses Guadeloupean Kelly Sinnapah Mary.
[. . .] Artists have always found creative inspiration in turmoil and tragedy. Rampant police brutality has long been a theme for artists expressing anger and raising awareness through remarkable works.
Indo-Guadeloupean artist Kelly Sinnapah Mary, a descendant of indentured Indians in the Francophone Caribbean who lives in France, responds to the breakdown of the United States from afar, but her raw emotions burst from the canvas as if she were witnessing the atrocities here first hand.
“It is the weight of all the history of the United States of America and all the history of post-slavery societies that fell on George Floyd’s neck on May 25, 2020. The weight of this history [. . .] crushed Floyd’s neck as he crushes black Americans every day of their lives since their ancestors were deported from Africa,” said Mary. “As a Frenchwoman, I could not remain indifferent since my country place, on the shoulders on my black fellow citizens, the same weight that the one who strangled George Floyd. This terrifying image of a white man wearing the uniform of authority, crushing the throat of a black man, nailed to the ground by three men, translates with so much fidelity the reality of the condition of black man in a post-slavery society one could almost find it caricatured. But everyone must wonder, for one George Floyd, dead in front of the camera, how many George Floyd are each day, off camera, humiliated, belittled, rejected both physically and symbolically.”
Her latest series of oil pastel on paper, all titled The fire next time, includes an image of the U.S. White House in flames and an interior with a raging fireplace and a police officer with blue skin flattened on the ground.
[Above: Kelly Sinnapah Mary “The fire next time” (2020) oil pastel on paper, 15 in. x 15 in. © SOUL. Accessed via Forbes.]
For more on the artist, see https://kellysinnapahmary.wixsite.com/kelly-sinnapah-mary