Black Lives Matter Series by Camila Fernandez
Artist Statement: I began my Black Lives Matter series in June of 2020 following the murder of George Floyd. Like many Americans I was struggling with my feelings of fear, anger and helplessness. And while we were all processing our grief, there was this clear divide of people who chose to villainize these victims of police brutality; to dehumanize them. So I decided to paint a portrait of George Floyd as a way to honor his life. Painting his portrait allowed me time to meditate on him as a person and the life that was taken from him; the people left behind. This process was a powerful and personal one, and I wanted to continue by honoring others that were taken from their loved ones at the hands of police brutality. By the end of October I finished my ninth and final portrait of Tamir Rice who was just a child when he was murdered. Sadly, I knew I could keep painting these for the rest of my life and still never paint every victim. On social media I was overwhelmed by the response to these portraits. I have had people reach out wanting to buy them, but I never painted them to be products to sell. They are the faces of sons and daughters and mothers and fathers, and I never intended to profit off of them. I’ve decided to use them to raise donations for each victim’s corresponding foundation. Many of these victims’ mothers are on the boards of these foundations and I’d like to honor their work and the legacies of their children.