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In response to the murder of George Floyd and ongoing protests against police violence and systemic racism, photographer Paul Mpagi Sepuya is issuing an urgent message: donate. Sepuya will offer his print “Studio (0X5A4983)” (2020) to anyone who donates at least $250 to one of several advocacy organizations, encouraging direct action.
These include National Bail Out, a Black-led collective focused on bail reform; the Minnesota Freedom Fund, which pays bail for low-income individuals in the state; #BlackLivesMatter’s LA chapter; and Fair Fight, dedicated to battling voter suppression. (A complete list, along with links to donate, is appended below.)
DOCUMENT is covering the cost of printing and will ship the unframed prints directly to purchasers, with complimentary shipping in the US, and Vielmetter Los Angeles is providing admin support. Purchasers will need to email confirmed documentation of their donation to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It’s about receipts really,” Sepuya told Hyperallergic. “I’m not alone amongst black artists who want to see the receipts from non-Black curators, gallerists, museum directors who put up public-facing language in exhibitions about representation, justice, inclusion, diversity, whatever those words mean. I want to see receipts from non-Black collectors to know their interests in Black bodies aren’t salacious and that they are putting their money to defending Black lives.”
The death of Floyd, a Black man who was choked to death by white former officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis, has ignited outrage over decades of murders of Black people at the hands of police. Across the country, peaceful demonstrations have escalated as police launch tear gas, rubber bullets, and mace into crowds, conducting mass arrests to deter protesters. Meanwhile, the president threatens to deploy the military, and curfews are put in place nationwide.
As expressions of solidarity flood social networks, we should tangibly support the critical work being done to fight for social justice and equality. While anyone who donates $250 to any of the below organizations will receive a Sepuya print, amounts of $500, $1,000, and upwards are suggested for those who are able to give more:
Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment
BLM Los Angeles
LGBTQ Freedom Fund
National Bail Out
Black Trans Advocacy Coalition
Summaeverythang Community Center
Editor’s note 6/3/2020 7:11pm EDT: The list of organizations to which Sepuya is directing donations has been updated and expanded.