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New exhibit at Indiana State Museum features murals by local Black artists

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A new exhibit featuring murals from local Black artists commemorating the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death is on display at the Indiana State Museum.

“RESPONSE: Images and Sounds of a Movement” will feature six different murals from artists, including Gary Gee, Elijah Norwood, Demetrius Green and Gentry Parker, as well as well as employees from Silver in the City and The Flying Cupcake.

“My job as an artist is to display what the people’s reaction is,” said Norwood, artist of “Take a Stand.” “When the pandemic hit there was no more life on Mass Ave. Everything was boarded up, then George Floyd happened, and it was a no brainer about what we were going to paint about. Everyone was a part of the reaction and that was the driving inspiration for this project.”

Gary Gee’s mural “We the People” on display in downtown Indianapolis. (Photo provided by Gary Gee)

Gee found inspiration in the Statue of Liberty, Lady Justice and the Constitution for his murals “8:46” and “We the People.” In the mural the Statue of Liberty holds a sign that says, “I can’t breathe.” Gee’s art raises the question: “How would Lady Liberty feel about systemic racism?”

“That’s where the Constitution comes in,” he continued. “Although it said ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal’ it didn’t really mean that. It excluded us, women and a lot of other people too.” 

Gee hopes that the murals now showcased at the state museum instead of on buildings downtown will reach a much larger audience and spark a conversation to increase an understanding of racism in America. 

Norwood believes this exhibit will help people understand the Black experience and allow Black people to be humanized. 

“People clearly still don’t value Black people. They see us as inferior. This exhibit expresses what we are feeling and expresses what we have experienced,” Norwood said. 

Contact staff writer Terrence Lambert at 317-924-5243. Follow him on Twitter @_TerrenceL_.

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