Nils Westergard and SillyGenius Powerful Mural ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’ in Richmond, Virginia 2020

Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy, has become a national epicentre of the Black Lives Matter movement, with the towering 19m Robert E. Lee statue as its focal point. Now covered with anti-racist graffiti, this statue and other racist statues across the world have become a place for powerful protests against systemic racism and police violence.

With the Black lives movement at the forefront of conversation, Richmond artist Nils Westergard and SillyGenuis painted a mural dedicated to the victims of police brutality and support BLM. The collaboration is part of the local project ‘MendingWalls’, a public art project that brings together artists from different cultures and backgrounds to create murals that address where we are now in society.

“Our hope is to bring about healing through public art while adding something meaningful to the conversation of Black Lives Matter.” Mending Walls

The mural on Broad street measures about 100′ long and 25′ tall and memorialise the names of Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland, Alton Sterling, Botham Jean and so many others who fell victim to police brutality and other hate crimes. #saytheirnames

“What is it that you wanted me to reconcile myself to. I was born here more than 60 years ago. I’m not going to live another 60 years. You always told me that it’s going to take time. It’s taken my father’s time, my mother’s time, my uncle’s time, my brothers’ and my sisters’ time, my nieces and my nephew’s time. How much time do you want for your progress?” James Baldwin

The mural includes a poem by American novelist, poet, playwright and activist James Baldwin.

All Art Ain’t Pretty…but this IS beautiful. God bless every name on this wall, and thank you @nilsrva@sillygenius@mendingwallsrva for making me apart of this. Thank you Richmond for all the love and support you’ve shown. Thank you to everyone who’s been putting in time and pain for the movement. So much more work to do. Love you 🙏🏿❤️ Radioblitz on instagram

The man in the mural is Radioblitz with his Hands up, don’t shoot.

The mayor of Richmond, Va., has ordered the immediate removal of all Confederate monuments standing on city property, saying it is “past time” for the statues to come down, and monuments glorifying slavery and colonialism are being revisited and removed across the world.




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