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New York artists turn plywood from Black Lives Matter protests into sculptures

For New York artist Tanda Francis, the Black Lives Matter protests during the summer of 2020 were an historic event.

7/21/2021 8:30:00 PM

To honor the Black Lives Matter movement, New York artist Tanda Francis took plywood used to board up storefronts across the city last year and turned it into a sculpture called 'RockIt Black'

For New York artist Tanda Francis, the Black Lives Matter protests during the summer of 2020 were an historic event.

"To transform this plywood that was on the streets during the Black Lives Matter actual uprising is... amazing," Francis told Reuters. "In my work, I actually use the color black and actually try to elevate it, kind of contrast to how it's been sort of stigmatized in our culture."

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Francis was one of five artists chosen to participate in theorganized by worthless studios, a New York not-for-profit.1/5A sculpture by artist Tanda Francis called "Be Heard" in Queensbridge Park, Queens borough of New York, U.S., July 16, 2021. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

Read More"New York City was covered in this plywood during COVID shutdowns and, you know, the peak of the Black Lives Matter protests," said Neil Hamamoto, founder of worthless studios, as he stood next to the "Be Heard" sculpture by Behin Ha Design Studio in Thomas Paine Park in Manhattan. "To me, it felt important to recycle the material because of its power and rhetoric."

The five sculptures appear across the city and will remain on display until Nov. 1.The summer of 2020 saw thebiggest protestsfor racial justice and civil rights in a generation, triggered by the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer.Skylar Barnes, who works and lives in the Bronx near the "In Honor of Black Lives Matter" sculpture, said the artwork reminds her of the reasons why people went out to the streets.

"I see that the sculptures are speaking out that we need some more justice and that laws need to be fixed. So there could be equality for everyone," said Barnes.Reporting by Aleksandra Michalska; Editing by Lisa ShumakerOur Standards:More from Reuters

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Proud Boys leader pleads guilty to burning DC church's Black Lives Matter bannerEnrique Tarrio, leader of the far-right Proud Boys, pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors, including burning a Washington church's Black Lives Matter banner So...has he got a call from Mar a Lago yet? Enrique Irony

Proud Boys leader pleads guilty to burning Black Lives Matter bannerThe leader of the far-right Proud Boys pleads guilty to burning a Black Lives Matter banner taken from a historic Black church during a demonstration in December. Guess he will get a steak dinner for two and a spa day.😏 These sentencing guidelines suck. They are NOT a deterent! He committed theft when he stole the banner . Burning the Marxist Communist BLM banner is not a crime .

Proud Boys leader pleads guilty to burning Black Lives Matter bannerEnrique Tarrio, 37, of Miami, was arrested Jan. 3 in Washington on a warrant stemming from the Dec. 12 incident.

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