“Art + Abolition” Celebrates Protest Art

Several Twin Cities co-ops hosted “Art + Abolition,” a community celebration of protest art created over the past year. Participating artist Maiya Lea Hartmann says her work seeks to honor lives lost and celebrate Black people. 

Chioma Uwagwu reports:  


Last week, several Twin Cities co-ops hosted “Art + Abolition,” a community celebration of protest art created over the past year. 


Seward Co-op’s Addie DeMery said the event is a follow-up to last summer, when the store invited BIPOC artists to  create murals on its boarded up windows. 


“ I feel like art is a way to express pain-but also happiness, and also like a revolution,” said DeMery.  “There’s been plenty of art, where you can see,  like, how it tells a story, and I feel like a lot of the art that we put up, that was put up at our stores, told the story of what happened, the pain and also how community members have come together.” 


DeMery said even grocery stores have a role to play in the social justice movement.


One of the participating artists,  Maiya Lea Hartmann, created a portrait of Makiyah Bryant for the one year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd. The 16 year old girl was shot by police in Columbus, Ohio this past April. Makiyah’s face is shown inside a fortuneteller’s crystal ball. She’s surrounded by flowers and the words “We deserve a future where all our babies can grow old.” 


“How often do our babies not even get to experience being babies because of that fear that black people have to hold?” asked Hartmann. ‘That is the reality, that like, at any point, that could be your fate. And so I think it is important to honor all of the lives that have been lost – and there’s so many! And, for me, it was important to honor Makiya Brian just alongside George Floyd.”


Hartmann says she likes to create artwork that people feel compelled to touch and physically interact with. She says she’s always looking for a balance between honoring lives and celebrating Black people. 

Artist Pictured: @maiyaleaart


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