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With election day fast approaching, the polls predict a tight race in battleground states. As part of a targeted campaign to get out the vote in communities of color in these constituencies, the Biden-Harris campaign has commissioned eight Black artists to create murals in their communities that stress the urgency of participating in this fundamental election.
“Murals Across America” is a project run by the Washington, DC media company Truxton Creative and sponsored by the Biden-Harris campaign. The murals were placed in predominantly Black areas in Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, and North Carolina.
Ianta Summers, who heads the project at Truxton Creative, told Hyperallergic in an interview that the artists were picked by an all-Black team at the company, which has reached out to artists across the country. The artists had to submit murals that “spoke to the Black community” and included the Biden-Harris logo.
In Milwaukee, artist Tia Richardson‘s mural “Pursuing the Vision” depicts Harris and Biden arm-in-arm with the spirit of the late senator and civil rights activist John Lewis. The three gaze upwards to a sunny horizon.
“We need a vision, we need a plan,” Richardson told Hyperallergic interview. “The sun is a vision of unity,” the artist added. “Lewis knew how to work with people, not against them, and Biden has that too.”
Other artists include Shawn Perkins (“SP the Plug”) from Detroit; Johnathan Desrosiers from Miami; Chukwunonso Ofili from Houston; Ernel Martinez from Philadelphia; Isaiah Williams from Cleveland; and Joseph McKinney from Atlanta.
Artist Antoine Williams‘s mural in Durham, North Carolina, depicts voting and civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer standing next to a modern-day Black woman wearing a shirt that says “One Woman, One Vote.” Their heads are tangled, carrying a heap of ballot boxes and a Biden-Harris election sign. A third woman is speaking through a megaphone atop of ballots.
“I wanted to highlight the generational labor that so many unknown Black folks, in particular Black women have done in regards to making voting more accessible,” Williams told Hyperallergic in an email. “Entangled within the fabric on the heads of the two women are realities facing us in the current election from young people having their voices heard to ongoing voter suppression tactics with early voting and mail-in ballots.”
Summers, whose team has also produced TV and billboard ads for the Biden-Harris campaign in Black communities across the country, said that the murals were installed to encourage participation in the political process beyond the 2020 election.
“Whatever happens on November 3, people will still have to be engaged for the long haul,” Summers said. “Whoever wins will have to be held accountable.”