On July 7, 12 artists quickly organized to create a public, unsanctioned mural on an empty building to help the community heal. Five weeks later the building was demolished. Photo by Ryan Stopera.

This mural for Philando Castile is art born out of resistance

We are a perfection-obsessed culture. It shows up in how we make art and how we honor art made in public spaces. The drive to be perfect all the time can, in turn, block creativity and facilitate a culture of rigidity and a lack of expression. I am not writing this to give anyone advice on how to be more creative, I am writing to make the connection on how artmaking – especially in public spaces – unblocks the possibility of healing and protest in a hyper toxic climate.

On July 7, one day after Philando Castile was killed by St. Anthony Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez, a group of 12 artists and storytellers came together, through phone calls to one another, to process their grief and offer a different response to police brutality. They came together to make visible the community’s pain through art and erected a public mural in honor of Castile at the intersection of Lake Street and 20th Avenue. Continue Reading

Chaka Mkali, AKA I Self Devine, discusses the painting he created inspired by Prince. Photo by Ryan Stopera.

Prince Legacy Project Vol. II: I Self Devine

The Twin Cities Daily Planet’s Prince Legacy Project features local black artists inspired by the life and music of Minneapolis’ own Prince Rogers Nelson.

In Vol. II, artist organizer Chaka Mkali, AKA I Self Devine, shares a painting rooted–as Prince was–in Minneapolis.

“There’s often a conversation of Prince transcending race… but when you say it in that fashion it’s as if we don’t have to have that conversation around gender, race or class–what defined him, especially coming from a place like Minneapolis, that is typically eurocentric. To be who he was is like salmon swimming upstream, and is the result is the environment he created. His own universe,” Mkali said. Continue Reading

Artist Mike Queenz. Photo by Ryan Stopera.

Prince Legacy Project Vol. I: Mike Queenz

“Prince was a very clear statement for a lot of queer folks. He was able to be that thing and embody this, I don’t know this energy that so many people have pent up inside or can’t express… Whatever it is, society doesn’t want to accept queerness, especially when it’s coming from black people, or masculine folks. I think Prince was just that thing, that epitome of what it means to be a carefree, queer, black, genderbending person.” –Mike Queenz Continue Reading