Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism.
The death of George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota officer Derek Chauvin in May of 2020, now the subject of an ongoing murder trial in Minneapolis, sent shockwaves around the world, prompting mass protests against racism and police brutality. This social movement against racial injustice has also found expression in political street art across the globe.
Last year, a team of researchers from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis launched the George Floyd and Anti-Racist Street Art database to record and map anti-racist street art in the wake of Floyd’s murder. Crowdsourced through an online submission form, the database now includes more than 1,800 images of artworks from around the world, ranging from graffiti and tags to stickers, wheat pastes, murals, and projections. The images are indexed by geolocation, date, source, and other relevant metadata.
The database was spearheaded by Todd Lawrence, Paul Lorah, and Heather Shirey from St. Thomas’s Urban Art Mapping Research Project. It received its funding from the university’s College of Arts and Sciences via an internal grant.
In an email to Hyperallergic, the researchers explained that they had initially started working on a database of COVID-19 street art in April of last year, but the project took a different direction after Floyd’s murder the following month.
“The neighborhood where we had already been doing work, Midway in St. Paul, turned out the be the epicenter of the uprising in the city,” the researchers told Hyperallergic in a statement. “We were suddenly seeing art everywhere, and it was telling a story that we felt needed to be preserved.”
The database is intended as a resource for scholars and artists, but it’s open to all. The researchers stress that the image rights belong to the photographers and the artists, not the university.
“Street art matters because it represents the voices of the community, often providing a counter-institutional perspective, and so a crowd-sourced archive is in keeping with the goals of this art form itself,” the team said. “People have used walls to claim space, tell their stories, express their anger, show their vision for the future: our goal is to amplify these voices and experiences and to make sure that these textual and visual messages are not erased.”
The researchers are also conducting an analysis of the artworks in the database to examine “how the location of street art is shaped by a neighborhood’s cultural geography.” For example, they found that clusters of street art tend to be located near intersections, mass transit stops, and commercial real estate.
The analysis also showed that in Minneapolis, the street art near sites of clashes between police and protesters tended to be more visceral and confrontational, with messages like “Cops are murderers,” “Stop killing us,” and “Kill a cop save a life.”
“As the distance from sites of conflict increased, it became more common to find art promoting change, expressing messages of unity, and displaying messages from property owners with messages like ‘Change must come,’ ‘One Love,’ and ‘Justice for George,'” the researchers added.
The researchers called the database a “work in progress” that depends on input from the public.
“Our goal is to create an archive that is not simply a passive collection of images, but one that can go out in the world and do something,” they said. “We think of it as an activist archive.”
“Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants—11.3 per 1,000 black babies, compared with 4.9 per 1,000 white babies, according to the most recent government data—a racial disparity that is actually wider than in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery, when most black women were…
In 1850, when Dr. Robert W. Gibbes commissioned J. T. Zealy to make daguerreotypes of persons held in slavery in and around Columbia, South Carolina, for Harvard Professor Louis Agassiz to use in support of his theory that African people were a separate species, daguerreotypes were at the height of fashion.
The show, which honors the 50th anniversary of an exhibition history once ignored, continues a series of projects documenting Wilmington’s contemporary art scene.
he ownership of images has a long and nuanced legal history, which has evolved dramatically in recent years as cultural standards and photographic technologies have rapidly advanced
Renty and his daughter Delia. Renty was an enslaved African, kidnapped from the Congo, sold and forced into slave labor on the South Carolina plantation of B.F. Taylor
Two K-12 art teachers will each receive a $1,000 cash gift and an additional $500 to put toward classroom art supplies. Nominations are due October 31.
As a scholar of African American history and photography whose work has focused on the status of violent images in museums and archives, I fully support the validity of Ms. Tamara Lanier’s claim and the amicus brief.
The daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor, Delia, Drana, Alfred, Jack, George Fassena, and Jem remained in an unused storage cabinet until 1975, when it was discovered by an employee of the Peabody Museum.
I am writing in support of the amicus curiae brief submitted by Professor Ariella Aïsha Azoulay of Brown University for the full restitution of the daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor and his daughter Delia, currently held by Harvard University, to their familial descendant, Tamara Lanier.