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Friday, January 21, 2022

George Floyd Bronze Sculpture Defaced Second Time

Despite the brutal incident, to see volunteers strangers to each other rush and clean the paint off the sculpture was a silver lining

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Divya Dhadd
Divya Dhadd
Journalist

UNITED STATES: A recently unveiled bronze sculpture honouring George Floyd in New York City has been defaced for a second time.

The bust — one of the three statues at Confront Art’s installation set up in Union Square, which debuted on Thursday but opened to the public on Friday evening — was vandalised with grey paint on Sunday morning, New York City Police Department NYPD detective Frances Sammon told CNN.

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The 6-foot tall bust of Floyd was first vandalized with black paint days after it debuted in Flatbush, Brooklyn in June, shaking and angering a community that had already been through so much.

“There’s video footage police were able to ascertain,” Sammon said. “They show a male ducking down under one of the statues. He then mixes something together, and, as he skates away, he throws a container of paint at the statue.”

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The incident had a silver lining, according to ConfrontArt, the social justice arts organisation that produced the exhibition. By the time ConfrontArt members arrived to restore the statue on Sunday, community members had already begun “scrubbing and working” to honour the statue, the group said.

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“[They] bought supplies out of their own pockets,” the organisation’s co-founder Andrew Cohen told CNN. “This is inspiring teamwork and support from the community.”

Harmony Seaburg, one of the volunteers who helped clean up the statue, noted how difficult it was to see it in its defaced state.

“It was really hard to see this larger-than-life man like this,” Seaburg told CNN. “We’re trying to get all the paint off his face, but it’s very emotional.”

Seaburg said that the five volunteers are strangers to one another.

Chris Carnabuci, the artist who made the statues, also praised the community’s response, likening it to the community response he saw when a bust of George Floyd was defaced in June in Brooklyn.

“I’m not shocked, but I’m still pissed,” he said. “It’s a very counterproductive thing to do, and it’s not the kind of civil discourse — the keyword being civil — I wanted,” said Carnabuci.

Lindsay Eshelman, co-founder of the group Confront Art said, “The crazy thing is we knew that this could happen. It just kind of shows that what we’re doing is sparking conversation, it’s sparking controversy. That is the mission of art, to evoke emotion. I don’t align with this emotion. It’s super frustrating, but it shows the disunification of America that we live in.”

The statue, along with statues of John Lewis and Breonna Taylor, is part of a temporary exhibit called “See Injustice” — a call to recognize the mistreatment of Black men and women, with hopes of promoting peace and healing throughout the country.

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