Billboard showing police killing of George Floyd goes up in West Hollywood

A billboard depicting the police killing of George Floyd is now up in West Hollywood.

The billboard, located on North La Cienega Boulevard and West Holloway Drive, shows a re-creation of the moment Floyd was killed, painted by Don Perlis of New York.

"It was a painting that I made soon after he was murdered, and it [Floyd's murder] really upset me and motivated me to do it," he said.

Perlis altered the image making it different from the actual moment Floyd was killed. In his re-creation, an officer is kneeling on Floyd's neck alongside two other officers while an officer in the distance looks away.

"I manipulated the configuration, and I put the car in a different location. I minimized the police because I wanted it to be a human experience. I minimized the badges and the guns. I tried to make it so the theme of the painting would be do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It's a moral theme," Perlis said.

Perlis said his painting was chosen by the George Floyd Justice Billboard Committee.

"My picture was chosen by the committee to represent what they wanted and what they wanted was a universal, humanitarian message that could not only bring people together, but start a conversation where it's not taboo to talk about these things, and get it out in the open because the only way you can resolve things is by people talking to other people," Perlis said.

The billboard in West Hollywood includes a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"We found Dr. King's quote even more appropriate for the painting because it's really an act of human injustice and it's so prevalent in our country that it really needs to be addressed. It's the thing that's tearing us all apart," Perlis said.

Perlis said he initially had reservations about the painting based on his race as a white man due to reaction to other depictions of Black tragedies from white artists.

"What is a white artist doing painting about a Black death? But the thing is, I'm one person painting another person's death. This is a human thing. It has nothing to do with race on that level so one thing the billboard has done is solve that and change the conversation about that," he said.

Perlis said he hopes the painting will spark conversations in Los Angeles and across the country. The billboard was up in New York and is currently in Los Angeles and Atlanta with another one in the works for Minneapolis, where Floyd was murdered.

"It's possible to solve these problems [of injustice]. They are human problems, problems of love and acceptance and communication and then trying to do the right thing, and people want to do that. We're all in this together and we all have to take responsibility for it," he said.

Perlis has depicted other paintings in the past surrounding social justice issues as well.

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