Artist paints mural of George Floyd in downtown Victoria

Artist paints mural of George Floyd in downtown Victoria
WatchA local artist was inspired to pay tribute to George Floyd after his death in Minneapolis, and Black Live Matter supporters say they love it, but that the movement is about more than remembering their fallen loved ones.

If you’re walking down Fort Street in Victoria, there is some new artwork and it is hard to miss.

An eight-foot-tall mural of George Floyd’s face overlooks the street with his last words, “Please, I can’t breathe,” written beside him.

“Although it’s sad, it makes people aware. That’s my way of giving back,” said the mural’s creator, Paul Archer.

The Victoria artist has been making murals for 30 years, and this is his latest. He was inspired to create it after hearing how George Floyd died after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

“When this came up I was devastated to hear how a man was suffering so badly like that. It’s two men, and it’s 2020. It’s wrong, it’s just wrong, Hopefully everyone will be rightly served,” said Archer.

This latest mural of Floyd is not the only visible support for the Black Lives Matter movement in Victoria. Paintings, chalk art, signs, and banners are placed all throughout Victoria, calling out racial injustice.

“There’s so many forms of expression and were trying to show one way of expressing ourselves, whether that’s here, on the live stream, or investing in black businesses. There are many ways to show your support,” said Pamphinette Buisa, one of the organizers for the BLM rally in Victoria on Sunday night.

Organizers of the rally here in Victoria say the protests, while rooted in the faces and names of those who lost their lives because of racism, is instead an expression of that collective rage.

“It’s a great show of support,” said rally organizer Asiyha Robinson. “We are though, understanding that we need to move away from focusing solely on faces, and populating our lives with the dead faces of our brothers and sisters.”

She says the new mural of George Floyd Victoria is beautiful, but the BLM movement is more than just focusing on those who have died from acts of racism.

“We absolutely love the image in itself, and the message that it represents and the person who made it, but we’re also looking for more ways to express ourselves,” said Robinson.

The rally leaders say if you cannot join in traditional protests due to COVID-19 concerns, you can sign petitions, donate to anti-racist causes and shop at black-owned stores.

In what is now an entire global movement, supporters are looking to not just express their grief over the ones they’ve lost, but to move for change.

Rebecca LawrenceRebecca Lawrence

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