"I think that we've got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard. And, what is it that America has failed to hear?" - MLK Jr
This series "Language of the Unheard" is painted from photos and from memory of the night I found myself riding my bike around in smack the middle of the unrest in downtown Philadelphia on May 30, 2020, the fires and looting and mayhem following the George Floyd protests.
Dumpster fires could be seen in alleys, piles of looted goods were set on fire in the streets, police cars overturned and set on fire. The streets in downtown Philly were laced with fire hoses going in every direction, the streets were filled with water and the sky with smoke. Pedaling out of an alley (where I saw young girls running out a back door with handfuls of clothes followed by a man chasing them, who was in turn followed by another man yelling "gas leak! go!"), I rounded the corner to see a huge building fire, the street already blocked off and other fellow lookiloo-ers stunned at what was going on around us.
This painting depicts that fire, as well as the general traffic in the streets that night - cops standing guard where needed (but not engaging for the most part), while people looted whatever they could find, and other people watched. I saw a motorcycle driving on the sidewalk that night and painted it into this picture too.