By Hrang Vartanian
A mural by street artist LNY, with some help from artists COST, ENX, and Ellis Gallagher, now dominates the very busy corner of Bedford Avenue and North 6th Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The work is a creative commission meant to coincide with the release of Fruitvale Station, an indy film that tells the story of Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident who was fatally shot in the back by a BART Police officer on the night of New Year’s Eve 2009. The film debuted at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and won its writer and director, Ryan Coogler, the festival’s Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for US dramatic film. The film had a limited national released last week.
“The production company contacted me to create an original work based on the film, which itself is based on the tragically short life of Oscar Grant,” artist LNY told Hyperallergic. “Johannes Mehserle, the officer who shot Grant, ended up being convicted for involuntary manslaughter and was released from jail by the summer of 2011.”
Grant’s death galvanized the Bay Area, and soon peaceful protests and not so peaceful riots followed the sentencing along with grassroots artistic actions in the form of murals, street art, and T-shirts.
Read More Before Trayvon Martin, There Was Oscar Grant.