What kind of man slowly and methodically snuffs out the life of a defenseless fellow human being in the middle of the day, over the raucous protests of onlookers and in front of a bank of video cameras? What goes through his mind as he calmly perpetrates this heinous deed? Does he consider what repercussions might ensue, or is he merely lost in a moment of anger and loathing? Or does he see this whole scenario as just another chore in his day as a Minneapolis City Police officer?
Within moments, the entire world saw the evidence of this unspeakable murder right before their eyes, and the Perfect Storm began to hit. Millions of people rose up in anger and protest, many more than might have been able to do so had they been at their worksites and away from their electronics. But it was the time of the Great Pandemic. Many people were unemployed and at home in an attempt to stem the progress of Covid 19; at home watching their TVs and social media and seeing George Floyd being killed by white policemen. Anger and outrage overflowed; everyone felt the need to DO something. Those who could, took to the streets – all across the country and the world – thousands upon thousands of people of all races, creeds, orientations and colors marching in memory of Big Floyd, in peaceful protest against the institutionalized racism that permitted all of this to happen.
New Mexico santera Clare Cresap Villa, while unable to join the marchers, felt the need to express solidarity. Her reaction was to create a retablo (folk art image on wood) of Big Floyd in the tradition of Spanish Colonial santeros. Because he is a martyr to the Cause, she portrayed him as a contemporary saint.
In her retablo, Clare pays homage to the muralists who painted memorable likenesses of Big Floyd on walls across the country. The mural she chose was painted by the artist Donkeeboy of Houston who portrayed this person of color in shades of the color blue. The marigolds and candles (traditional Mexican symbols that honor the dead) pay tribute to the ubiquitous shrines that sprung up spontaneously as signs of mourning across the nation. And then there are the hordes of people of all colors out in the streets with their signs of protest, all putting themselves in harm’s way, all demonstrating that their desire for social justice and social change overrides their fear of the dreaded ever-lurking coronavirus. Finally, clenched fists of all colors raised in a common heart afire with zeal. The cumulative result of these concepts is a rainbow of color that has significance in its own right, for the myriad peoples who have also felt the oppression of discrimination in their own lives.
Profits from the sale of “San Jorge de Floyd” will be sent to Kentucky Congressman Charles Booker who is currently challenging Mitch McConnell for his Senate seat.