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This Brooklyn Artist Creates Emotional Portraits Of Black Lives Lost To Police Brutality

By Claire Leaden

This Brooklyn Artist Creates Emotional Portraits Of Black Lives Lost To Police Brutality

The series offers a powerful visual representation of the futures that have been “Stolen.”

Adrian Brandon is a Brooklyn-based artist whose work focuses on the Black experience. He began a portrait series last year called “Stolen,” which was dedicated to “the many black people that were robbed of their lives at the hands of the police.” Last week, he decided to revisit the painful work after the murder of George Floyd and so many others.

In the series, Adrian uses time as an artistic medium just as much as his markers and pencils: he only colors each portrait in for as long as the person was alive before they were tragically taken. For every one year of life, he colors their portrait in for one minute.

The resulting pieces of art offer a powerful visual representation of the futures that were stolen by police brutality.

“I want the viewer to see how much empty space is left in these lives, stories that will never be told, space that can never be filled,” he wrote. “This emptiness represents holes in their families and our community, who will be forever stuck with the question, ‘who were they becoming?’ This series touches on grief and the unknown.”

He started the series with Alton Sterling, 37 minutes of color for 37 years:

“The Stolen series really is a personal and emotional project for me,” he said via IGTV yesterday. “It captures just how fragile Black lives feel in America. And it’s a really scary feeling that we’ve had to hold onto for way too long.”

For George Floyd, 46 minutes of color for 46 years.

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And Breonna Taylor, only 26 minutes for 26 years.

He said he hopes the works allow people to confront this issue “face to face,” an issue Black people have been experiencing for so incredibly long. “I know this isn’t easy to look at,” he said. “These portraits aren’t fun, it’s terribly sad and heartbreaking, but we really have to address it.”

Adrian wants his art to be used “as a tool for change and to inspire conversation,” and encourages followers to share his work and speak to others about the emotions it invokes, about grappling with the reality the portraits represent.

You can see the full series of pieces on his Instagram here, and buy pieces from his website here.

See also: Banksy Reveals A Powerful New Artwork Inspired By Black Lives Matter

featured image source: Instagram / @ayy.bee