Artist's Talk: September 2024
This group of 16 photographs by Kris Graves captures a series of projections superimposed on the 60-foot-tall statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, now removed from downtown Richmond, Virginia. Interspersed are photographs of other Southern monuments covered and removed demonstrating the shifting public opinion about Confederate Civil Ware monuments after the death of George Floyd.
In the opening statement to the monograph, writer Diana McClure begins, “In the summer of 2020 a collective uprising rooted in local civic engagements, ricocheted around the world in response to the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers. It relied on one of the central pillars of Democracy – peaceful protest. Although grounded in the particular, the embodied actions of the multitudes illuminated larger universal questions of basic human rights and dignity in the 21st century. The echo of empathy, anger and pain born from the eight minutes and 46 seconds of viral video that captured Floyd’s passing, resonated not only in the United States, but in ongoing struggles across the globe, from Hong Kong to Belarus and beyond. While the breadth of these issues touches every corner of the earth, it is the murder of individual Black lives intertwined in the brutal history of the United States that is the center of Kris Graves’ photographic project American Monuments.”