Visual artist Delphin Niyonkuru, hired by Villiard, painted a bloody fist clutching the American flag on the George Floyd panel. June 2020, acrylics on 3 4’x8’ plywood.
Amidst the national unrest relating to police brutality, Duluth visual artist Moira Villiard led a community mural painting in honor of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor on June 8, 2020 in conjunction with the filming of the “I Can’t Breathe” documentary produced by DanSan Creatives at the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial.
The 3-panel murals of Floyd, Taylor and a raised fist brought together Duluth community members of all ages to paint and grieve the loss of Black lives due to racism and was featured in the documentary. The community painting was one of the events commemorating the 100-year anniversary of the public lynchings of Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson and Isaac McGhie.
"The project for me was inspired by all the youth who were protesting and wanting to offer some ways for them to get involved that maybe they didn't have resources for or experience in doing (like mural work)," Villiard said.
Villiard reached out to DanSan Creatives to collaborate on the murals and the documentary.
"I don't give any rules. I don't tell them what they should and shouldn't write."
Villiard digitally designed the murals using a stenciled style to allow painters to express their voices on the paintings. She used the sketches as a reference for the paintings she created on three panels of donated plywood with acrylic paint. Phrases such as “Black Power,” “Black womxn deserve life,” and “Say My Name!” as well as flowers and hearts were painted by volunteer painters.
“The goal of this is to provide space for people to use their voices in different ways,” Villiard told the Duluth News Tribune about
the painters. "I started with a rough idea of how things will be laid out, but then I opened it up to anyone to decide what will be represented and how. I don't give any rules. I don't tell them what they should and shouldn't write."
The murals were on display at the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial plaza between late June and early August. ∎
George Floyd/Breonna Taylor Community Murals, 2020
Progress: Start to Finish
"I Can't Breathe" A CJM Memorial Documentary by DanSan Creatives
Press Relating to Project
Perfect Duluth Day
Duluth News Tribune
Delphin Niyonkuru (Delphin Starr)
Clayton Jackson McGhie Inc.
Volunteers who came to paint and film the documentary
Page by Suenary Philavanh