PHOTOS: Newly unveiled art installation pays tribute to Breonna Taylor at SFU

Atwork “un/settled” by poet Okot Bitek and photographer, SFU lecturer Chantal Gibson can be seen at West Hastings and Richards streets in downtown Vancouver. (SFU)Atwork “un/settled” by poet Okot Bitek and photographer, SFU lecturer Chantal Gibson can be seen at West Hastings and Richards streets in downtown Vancouver. (SFU)
Atwork “un/settled” by poet Okot Bitek and photographer, SFU lecturer Chantal Gibson can be seen at West Hastings and Richards streets in downtown Vancouver. (SFU)Atwork “un/settled” by poet Okot Bitek and photographer, SFU lecturer Chantal Gibson can be seen at West Hastings and Richards streets in downtown Vancouver. (SFU)
Atwork “un/settled” by poet Okot Bitek and photographer, SFU lecturer Chantal Gibson can be seen at West Hastings and Richards streets in downtown Vancouver. (SFU)Atwork “un/settled” by poet Okot Bitek and photographer, SFU lecturer Chantal Gibson can be seen at West Hastings and Richards streets in downtown Vancouver. (SFU)
Atwork “un/settled” by poet Okot Bitek and photographer, SFU lecturer Chantal Gibson can be seen at West Hastings and Richards streets in downtown Vancouver. (SFU)Atwork “un/settled” by poet Okot Bitek and photographer, SFU lecturer Chantal Gibson can be seen at West Hastings and Richards streets in downtown Vancouver. (SFU)
Atwork “un/settled” by poet Okot Bitek and photographer, SFU lecturer Chantal Gibson can be seen at West Hastings and Richards streets in downtown Vancouver. (SFU)Atwork “un/settled” by poet Okot Bitek and photographer, SFU lecturer Chantal Gibson can be seen at West Hastings and Richards streets in downtown Vancouver. (SFU)

A mural unveiled at SFU’s Vancouver campus during Black History Month is shining a spotlight on Black women like Breonna Taylor, who was killed at the hands of U.S. police last spring.

Titled “un/settled,” the poetic work is about “the constant reminder that some people cannot be seen to be of these lands,” said SFU’s writer-in-residence Okot Bitek.

The 240-square foot installation also showcases the photography of Chantal Gibson, an arts and technology lecturer at the university.

It acknowledges the ongoing systematic violence against Black, Indigenous, and people of colour in countries like Canada and the U.S.

“We know the empty space in our arms that our lost children will never fill,” reads part of the work at West Hastings and Richards streets. It’s draped over SFU’s Belzberg Library, which remains closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The artists have repurposed the street-level library window for onlookers passing by.

Head librarian Ebony Magnus said, “un/settled is a resistance, it’s our response, it’s about monumental and unapologetic Black life.”

“Especially now, when we hear too often about the over-policing and oppression of Black men, women, like Breonna Taylor and Regis Korchinski-Paquet, and children in the media and in our public spaces,” Magnus added.

Taylor was a Louisville medical worker, 26, killed by police officers in Kentucky during a botched raid on her apartment. Korchinski-Paquet was a 29-year-old multiracial Toronto woman who died in the presence of police in May.

The installation will remain on display until May 31.

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sarah.grochowski@bpdigital.ca

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