This New Digital Archive Preserves Black Lives Matter Protest Art From Around the World

 

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The year 2020 has proven itself to be full of unprecedented, world-changing events. Trying to keep up with, or attempting to recollect, all the swiftly moving parts or key civil rights movements can be daunting. But thanks to a research project from The University of St. Thomas, the opportunity to properly process some of this era’s most significant moments through artwork is now digitally available. Called the Urban Art Mapping George Floyd and Anti-Racist Street Art, it's a database that functions as a free virtual art library.

The catalog is intended to preserve the protest art that has been appearing on the likes of sidewalks and streets so that future generations have access to it. It began with a focus on Minneapolis but continued to expand with every new submission the team at St. Thomas received; there are now over 1,000 artworks from around the world. Each piece in the database includes information such as the artist, the story behind its creation, and where it is located.

The pieces of street art are deeply moving and unique to each community they were created in. They are powerful works that memorialize victims of police brutality while providing some solace and promoting lasting conversation about police accountability.

 

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Those who’ve worked on the project hope the same is felt when visiting the virtual museum. “This database will serve as a resource to show people that there was this powerful movement and an articulation of anti-racist messages and art that came out of this movement,” Dr. Todd Lawrence, one of the project creators, says. “People can try to paint over and wash it off, but we hope that because of our database, it can’t be washed over completely.”

The team also desires to document the evolution of different artworks. One example is the George Floyd memorial, which continues to change daily. By including details such as updated pictures of the pieces at different points in time, the team hopes to capture their transient nature. “What’s on the walls is an expression of people’s feelings, people’s response to what’s happening at any given moment,” Dr. Lawrence remarks. “Time affects how these messages get expressed.”

Because these pieces aren’t considered traditional works of art, some museums have expressed their lack of interest or desire to highlight them in the ways the artists and activists intended. This database offers a more community-centric alternative. Another bonus, according to the research team, is that when digitizing these works, the images wouldn’t be at risk of disappearing or being stored in a museum basement, but actively featured and apart of the museum.

The same team has also created a duplicate gallery that is a COVID-19 Street Art Database. They hope it will provide people with a way to examine, presently and in the future, the impact COVID-19 has had on communities worldwide.

The University of St. Thomas has created a database cataloging George Floyd and anti-racist street art.

 

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Urban Art Mapping George Floyd and Anti-Racist Street Art: Website| Instagram | Twitter 
h/t: [OpenCulture]

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Powerful Black Lives Matter Murals Are Popping Up on Streets Across the U.S.

Mural of Martin Luther King Was Defaced, So Street Artist Repainted It With Malcolm X [Interview]

Caesar the “No Drama” Llama Attends Protests in Portland to Give Out Stress-Reducing Hugs

Sonya Harris

Sonya Harris is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and a multi-platform artist and storyteller based in Seattle, Washington. She is a graduate of the University of Washington and has worked in Audio Production for Seattle NPR station KUOW. With a passion for storytelling in podcasting, Sonya is also an avid lover of tea, watercolors, photography, and film. She considers herself a voracious learner and seeker of the peculiar, whimsical, and inspiring.

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