The Art For Justice initiative is a Texas effort to show support, love, solidarity and compassion for George Floyd and other victims of police brutality. The Houston-based virtual gallery was designed and curated by Afreen Ali and Giangtien Nguyen, co-founders of INVI, a minority-owned architecture visualization company.
“This is a really meaningful opportunity, for children especially, to understand and make sense of the world around them. They’re hearing from their family and friends about what’s happening and they’re seeing it on TV. They, too, are trying to process this in their own way and so I thought this was a great thing to share with our community,” said Neel Gonuguntla, the organizer for the Art For Justice Initiative for North Texas.
Over time, news of the gallery spread and art from children in five countries and 14 states in the U.S. is displayed in the virtual gallery. Children in North Texas–specifically the Irving area– recently participated in this initiative. The #ArtForJustice Gallery now includes over 100 pieces of art.
Chief Jeff Spivey, Chief of Irving Police Department, welcomed the opportunity to receive some of the children’s art, primarily from the South Asian American community, to display at Irving Police Headquarters in a show of support for those who unjustly lost their lives. At this ceremony, each child had the opportunity to present, explain, and give their artwork to Spivey and Irving Mayor Rick Stopfer. After the art was presented, the chief and the mayor knelt with the children in honor of George Floyd. The art is on display at Irving Police Headquarters this week.
Arjavi Thakker, an 11-year-old student of the Humanist Academy in Irving made artwork for the gallery and presented her piece during the ceremony at the Irving Police Department.
“It was a good way to express my feelings through my art,” she said. “My artwork said, ‘United we stand, divided we fall.’ If we set aside our differences, we can come together, be united and make the world a better place.”
“I feel like the whole world needs to listen to children. Also, people need to remember what kind of example we’re setting for our children. I’m watching these young heroes change the world,” said Vijay Shah, educator and director of the Humanist Academy.
The Art For Justice gallery will be up indefinitely, offering hopeful imagery for all who need it.