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Culture community in an evening of tribute for Floyd

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The National Council for Arts and Culture, on Wednesday, June 10 evening, held a memorial in honour of George Floyd, who was killed while being arrested by the police in the USA in May 2020. He was buried a day earlier.

The Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture and President, World Crafts Council (African Region), Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, said it had become very necessary for Nigeria to join the over 17 countries in Africa to organise an immemorial for this black American that was murdered in cold blood by the Minneapolis police in the United States of America.

To him, “ it has become necessary to emphasis that as Africans, our culture has great respect for the sanctity of human life, we are a peaceful, loving and God-fearing people that detest violence. This is why we are joining the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission to ask for justice for the late George Floyd and to propagate the message of peace all over the world.”

Runsewe said, “we believe that all men are created equal and have inalienable rights among which are rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

“From Africa to the USA, Latin America, Asian, Europe and the Pacific, we say let Justice flow; let love reign and let there be peace.”

In a tribute by the Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Honourable Abike Dabiri-Erewa, she reminded the crowd that witnessed the event that as a black person, this is a fight we must fight, as a black person, the DNA of an African runs in you. “As a black person, you must aspire to come back to your motherland where you can freely breathe. As a black person, you should think of coming back to Africa/Nigeria to invest in an environment where you can freely breathe and as a black person, come back to your home where you will be shown, love.”

There was a minute silence in memory of Late George Floyd and all the other black African Heroes all over the world who have suffered violent attacks and even death on account of the colour of their skin.

Followed by two brilliant drama presentations titled, I Can't Breathe and Our Hearts Toughened; that touched the heart of everybody.

In days that followed, murals honouring Floyd have cropped up around the world to commemorate him. In Minneapolis, a 20-by-six-foot mural appears on a brick wall, outside of the Cup Foods store where Floyd died.

Xena Goldman, Cadex Herrera, Greta McLain, Niko Alexander and Pablo Hernandez painted the mural.

“Our idea was to depict Floyd not as a martyr but as a social justice hero,” Herrera said.

Floyd’s face appears surrounded by a sunflower, the center of which is filled in with the names of other black Americans who have died in the hands of police officers. In the block letters of his name, silhouettes of protesters raise fists in solidarity. At the bottom of the mural, the words “I can breathe now” are written in small letters.

While the protests surrounding police brutality centres in the US, street art honouring Floyd has appeared in Barcelona, Berlin, and even the war-torn city of Binnish, Syria, where artists Aziz Asmar and Anis Hamdoun, painted Floyd’s face with the words, No To Racism, on a lone cement pylon.

The Los Angeles artist and activist Nikkolas Smith, whose digital portrait of George Floyd wearing a suit have gone viral in recent days, thanks to re-posts by Michele Obama and the Black Lives Matter group.

Posting George Floyd portrait on Instagram, Smith said: “Black lives in this country are being destroyed by a virus of racism, fear, and hatred. It is up to everyone to take a stand and actively work to tear down this centuries-old pandemic now.”

The portraits are just a few of a number of artists’ drawing to create awareness to pro-black and anti-racist causes.

Artists have also turned to social media to share tributes to Floyd and countless others like Breonna Taylor and Tony McDade, who died at the hands of law enforcement.


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