In Dekit’s issue: MEME we interviewed artist and activist LMNOPI who took to the streets to explore and discuss some of the many social injustices facing our nation today. We talked to her briefly about her involvement in a collaboration with artist Ann Lewis, the face behind Gilf. Their mural gave homage to Kalief Browder who was so unjustly punished in his adolescence, given no trial and sent to a high security correction facility. Even after his release, Browder suffered many emotional and mental traumas, ultimately leading him to take his own life at the age of twenty-two. Instances like these often go unspoken about or acknowledged, unless some greater influence brings it to our attention. For that, we have these artists who push for social change, and use their talents to serve a greater purpose.
Whether it be environmental issues, gentrification, or combatting intolerance, artist Gilf has explored some touchy subjects in her artworks and installations. Often calling on others for action her work speaks for itself and calls attention to some serious issues plaguing our society today. In most circumstances, we tend to shield our young from the many horrors and injustices in the real world. Yet, victims of unjust systems, discrimination and prejudices must face these realities every moment of their lives, and it’s time for us to acknowledge and accept that, no matter how ugly or uncomfortable they may seem.
Most recently in response to the Orlando Shootings, Lewis mounted her large mural “Empower Equality” in New York to celebrate pride, love and community. The artist took to social media to comment on the events writing,” There is so much more love in this world than there is hate. When we unify that love, when we build together hate doesn’t have a chance. Be a part of that, everyday, every interaction, every breath. It’s our duty as humans in 2016.” Below the image lies the names of the victims whose lives were cut short, paying tribute to them and their families.