BLOOMFIELD – A celebration Tuesday featured a “Black Lives Matter“ mural being unveiled at the town hall with 15 local artists from Bloomfield and Greater Hartford, taking part in the festivities.
Thanks to a grant from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.
The 43-year-old “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman, who died tragically last Friday after a four-year secretive battle with colon cancer, cast a positive and affirming light on all black men and women. The mural is a testament to that and his bravery.
This mural (above) outside of Bloomfield Town Hall is the first of three distinct, planned murals in the town which are financed by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.
Like Boseman, the murals also honored other notable black men like John Lewis, a civil rights activist, who passed away in July at 80 and had key roles in the civil rights movement and its actions to end legalized racial segregation in the United States. It was also dedicated to the men and women who died by police violence.
With the help of a $6,640 grant from the foundation, the town of Bloomfield will soon have three murals in the community. The first was shown during the celebration, a 360 degree “Black Lives Matter” mural outside of Bloomfield Town Hall.
The Town Hall Black Lives Matter mural project team is being led by Hartford artist Khaiim A.K.A Self Suffice and Stephen Richmond, owner of Painting with A Twist in Hartford.
The team includes educators Zazzarro Decarish and Sacha Kelly, muralists Michael Borders and Chris Gann as well as several well-known and newer artists including Aariyan Googe, Che’ La’Mora and Trae Brooks.
There were a wide variety of topics such as “Black Women’s Lives Matter,” “Respect Existence or Expect Resistance,” black fatherhood as well as homages to slain men and women and Boseman’s strength and courage during his private battle.
Bloomfield Mayor Suzette DeBeatham-Brown said this example of art expresses strong support for black lives.
“The Black Lives Matter mural is a strong statement that we are standing in solidarity when injustice happens to Black and Brown lives,” DeBeatham-Brown said. “We don’t want to forget what has brought us to this moment as a community and these murals help to remind us of that commitment.”
One of the artists, LaMora, decided to honor Boseman in a unique and creative way.
“I already was going to paint my part as a king, but after the King of Wakanda died, it was only right to interpret that into my design,” LaMora said. “We’ve been mourning for three days as of now.”
Richmond said that the works of art serve as a representation of the horrors inflicted on black lives to help to bring awareness to the issue.
“Like all the Black Lives Matter murals prior to this one, this one serves as a silent protest and a reminder of suffrages of blacks in America and is a symbol of hope through the art displayed,” Richmond said.
The Hartford Foundation grant covers stipends for the stencilers, supervisors and artists, and the cost of supplies and gift cards for youth assisting on the project.
DeBeatham-Brown said that the murals have been criticized by the public.
“There are some people out there but that commentary speaks exactly to who they are,” DeBeatham-Brown said. “It was important to be able to vote on a movement that is going to speak to what side of history you want to be on.”