Ava DuVernay’s narrative change collective ARRAY has unveiled the fifth artist commission in advance of the first anniversary of its Law Enforcement Accountability Project (LEAP), a propulsive fund founded in the wake of George Floyd’s 2020 murder to catalyze creative expression around police violence and accountability. The original, hand-painted mural by multi-disciplinary artist Delita Martin will embark on a multi-city tour starting at the Houston Museum of African American Culture in July 2021.
Martin’s piece unmasks Bastrop, Texas County Police Officer Daniel Willis’ actions that resulted in the 2014 murder of Yvette Smith. Willis responded to a 911 domestic disturbance call by Ms. Smith, where she was acting as a peacemaker between two men. When Willis arrived at the scene, he shot Ms. Smith twice with his personal AR-15 as she opened the door. More information on the Willis case can be found here.
“Delita’s exquisitely layered mural ‘Blue is The Color We See Before We Die’ is a visual eulogy dedicated to Yvette Smith and so many other women who have tragically lost their lives at the hands of law enforcement officials,” said ARRAY Vice President of Public Programming, Mercedes Cooper. “We must continue to make these stories visible and demand police accountability for the sanctioned brutality happening in our communities and at our doorsteps.”
Martin’s striking mural transports viewers to the 2014 scene through her use of symbolic patterns, colors, and objects that surround a detailed image of Daniel Willis as a Blue Lives Matter flag rips from his face unveiling his identity. The mural, along with touring locations, is available to view at leapaction.org.