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By Mona Austin
(SHREVEPORT, LA) - February 16, 2014
Billy R. Boykin, Jr., a visual and graphic artist, will unveil "Justice for All," a digitally illustrated series of portraits in celebration of Black History Month today. The series was inspired by a theatrical production of “Four Little Girls” performed at Centenary College that told the story of the 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL which left 4 girls dead at the hands of White Supremacists.
The exhibit will feature images of three figures in Black history -- two from the Civil Rights era (Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcom X) and one from the modern era (Professor/Author/Social Commentator Dr. Cornell West) to reflect the continuous need for change. The art will be on display during an annual Black History Month program starting at 1:00 p.m. at The Church of the Living God, P.G.T. located at 1634 Alma St., Shreveport, Louisiana 71108. He used a distressed technique to represent struggle and painted the subjects faces read to symbolize their power. An African pattern adds texture and depth to each portrait.
The Shreveport, LA native said, “As an artist, I had to respond to the ongoing injustice in American after seeing that play,” noting the resurgence of racially motivated hate crimes fifty years later.
The trial of George Zimmerman, a Florida man who killed unarmed teen Trayvon Martin; NYPD unloading 50 rounds on unarmed groom, Sean Bell on his wedding day and Michael Dunn killing unarmed teenager Jordan Davis in Florida after a dispute over loud music are a few incidents in recent times that are constant reminders of the bleak past where the scales of justice were tilted unfavorably against Blacks as a societal norm. The conviction of the latter was handed down a day before the exhibit.
“A lot of people still don’t know how much our people went through during the Civil Rights Movement and to still be going through so much today to be treated equally is overwhelming. I decided to use my voice as an artist to take a stand against hatred,” said the designer, who holds a graphic design degree from The Art Institute of Dallas.
Boykin, 27, is also a minister at the Church of the Living God, P.G.T. When asked how his spirituality influenced the work, he replied, “I know Christ brought our people out of those difficult years and my intent is to share the spirit of Christ through these portraits to encourage people to choose peace over violence and love over hate today.”
To schedule an interview media may contact Mona Austin of Jireh Communications Group. Phone: 703-986-3464. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Media may post and share the graphics provided on social media. Follow the artist on Facebook and Twitter at Billy R. Boykin, Jr.
ABOUT “JUSTICE FOR ALL”
The “Justice for All” series was inspired by a theatrical production of “Four Little Girls” in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Birmingham Church Bombing. Since unprovoked injustices continue in America today, the artist used the voices of prominent African Americans to express the message that everyone, regardless of their race, has the capacity and moreover the responsibility to love and care for the equal rights and wellbeing of their fellowman. Each portrait incorporates an empowering quote from the subject.