Artist statement

By: Alison Lucero-Simmons, Nikolasi Niumeitolu, De’zha Boynton, Gisell Bermudez-Camacho

For our investigative journalism interdisciplinary project, we explored different routes that could be taken by the Black Lives Matter movement. The organization could focus on improving the flaws in our police protocol, the portrayal of black people in the media, or the systemic racism in the country.

Our group wanted to highlight the people that embody the spirit of the Black Lives Matter cause so we took the heroes from the poster for Guardians of the Galaxy and replaced them with some real life heroes of the movement. We replaced the characters with the people we thought best represented the Black Live Matter message best: Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Cornell William Brooks, and Alicia Garza. Michael Brown was an unarmed black teen who was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014. Trayvon Martin was only 17 years old when he was killed by George Zimmerman in 2012. The deaths of Trayvon and Michael have brought great attention to the #BlackLivesMatter tag on social media, and to the movement in general. Ta-Nehisi Coates is a well known author and journalist, who often writes about the state of race and racism in America. Cornell William Brooks is a lawyer, activist, and the current president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored a People (NAACP). He has been dedicated to social justice issues for his whole life. Alicia Garza is one of three women who created the Black Lives Matter movement in 2013. Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Cullors first used the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag after George Zimmerman, the man who murdered Trayvon Martin, was acquitted. These five people best represent the Black Lives Matter organization to our group. They are truly worthy of being called the “Guardians of America.”

The media often portrays black people as “thugs” or “gangsters” so we wanted to do the opposite. Our poster presents these people as the heroes they are, rather than the villains they are morphed into on the news.

Most of the details of the original poster were kept in order to evoke the same feeling of admiration. Many people look up to superheroes; we wanted our poster to display our role models in a similar way. The face in each character was replaced to create the Black Lives Matter team, a group fighting for racial justice in the United States. The ships with police sirens and the Fox News logo in the background represent the police brutality in the country and the faulty representation of black people in the media.

 

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. AndrewPongtananon says:

    Your editing on the poster is very nice. I know its very hard to put the face in the raccoon’s face. Nicely done!

    Like

    1. Nikolasi Niumeitolu says:

      Thanks Andrew. Photoshoping the Trayvon Martin’s face onto the raccoon was super fun actually. You just gotta work slowly, layer by layer.

      Like

  2. alanagibson2016 says:

    I love the idea behind putting their faces on heroes to show them in a positive light.

    Like

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