By Jonah Owen Lamb on April 17, 2016 1:00 am
Mario Woods. Alex Nieto. Oscar Grant. Michael Brown.
The names go on.
The portraits can be found everywhere: plastered on city walls, printed on T-shirts and in the hands of activists at various meetings and protests. The clean, thick black lines describe each face, turning them into something more than reproductions of the dead.
From Baltimore to the Bayview, effigies of the dead are not unusual at Black Lives Matter protests. But one local man’s images in particular have become commonplace.
Oree Originol began the project Justice for Our Lives in 2014 after he visited an Oscar Grant memorial at the Fruitvale BART station. Grant was fatally shot at the station on Jan. 1, 2009 by a BART police officer who was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
How Oree Originol is pursuing justice for Alex Nieto through his art.
Take This Hammer artist Oree Originol tells YBCA how his #JusticeForOurLives portrait series became a ubiquitous visual symbol and tool in the movement against police violence.
Take This Hammer: Art + Media Activism from the Bay Area is on view now at YBCA:http://ybca.org/take-this-hammer #TakeThisHammer
Kayden Clarke was a 24 year old transgender man who struggled with Aspergers syndrome and other mental issues. He was shot and killed by Mesa Police after they responded to a call about a suicidal person. He had been going through tough times dealing with not being able to transition gender because doctors and therapists wanted to “fix” his Asperger’s before he could start testosterone treatment. A close friend to Kayden received a worrying call from an animal seller about him looking for a place for Samson, his dog. Being aware of his previous attempts of suicide, she decided to call the police to come over to check up on her friend. After police forced the friend to step away from Kayden when they arrived, she recalls, it took about 2 minutes before they opened fire on him as she was being escorted outside the house by another officer. Officers claim they felt "threatened" when he "lunged" at them with a knife instead of attempting other ways to subdue him. To download and SHARE visit www.justiceforourlives.com/kayden-clarke
On October 12, 2012 Corey Kanosh, a 35 year old father and member of the Paiute tribe of Utah was shot and killed by Millard County Sheriff Deputy Dale Josse. His mother called police because she was concerned of him riding in her car and drinking alcohol with his best friend Dana Harnes. She was in fear of them being in an accident and hurting someone they know in their small community. After speaking with the sheriff's deputy, authorities where then alerted that he was searching for armed suspects with a stolen vehicle. Harnes, who was driving the vehicle, and Kanosh where on their way back to the reservation when police attempted to pull them over. Harnes drove away past the reservation into off-road terrain until they hit the rocks and where stuck. Harnes remembers running out the car, west towards the reservation and Kanosh ran east, towards the mountains. “I was running and fell, and I heard the cop talking to Corey, and then the ground disappeared beneath me and I ended up in a ravine. I came up on the other side and heard two guns shots, and then I heard Corey scream" His constitutional rights where also violated by the officers neglecting to provide medical attention after he was shot. Both men where unarmed. Corey Kanosh was well known for his traditional Native American artwork. He was also a champion traditional dancer and a Paiute “Salt Song” singer who performed traditional songs for those who had passed away. Download and SHARE this image www.justiceforourlives.com/corey-kanosh
On March 18th 2014 Errol Chang was murdered by Pacifica Police and the Daly City SWAT Team after a 6 hour stand off inside his house during a schizophrenic breakdown. Barricading himself inside, police worried he would find a rifle hidden in the house so after several attempts to convince Errol to surrender, they threw flash grenades into the house knowing they where dealing with someone in a severe psychiatric crisis which by no means helped de escalate the situation. At dusk, police breached the room and upon approaching him, Errol stabbed an officer in the arm. At that moment, two other officers fired at Errol at least 8 times, killing him. In the Bay Area and around the country, half of people killed by police have a mental illness. Crisis Intervention Teams have been deployed in several departments to assist officers when facing these confrontations but more needs to be done that will ensure police officers will be more empathetic to folks with mental illness. Download and SHARE online www.justiceforourlives.com/errol-chang
By Jonathan Curiel
Wednesday, Apr 6 2016
Two years ago, in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, Oakland artist Oree Originol began creating posters featuring the faces and names of people killed by police in controversial shootings. The art — done in black-and-white, in a simple and dignified style as if from a graphic novel — featured the likenesses of victims like Alex Nieto, the San Franciscan shot by police in Bernal Heights Park. Originol made his work free to download, so people could use them everywhere, and plaster them wherever they could...
Click on the link to read the article:
BY JAMIE MALESZKA
It’s been said that the role of the artist is to not look away. That despite the darkness, the all-too-often chaos, they are called to stay, to stand—to bear witness. And when our future’s tomorrow inevitably arrives, theirs is the work that will testify to our days and ways. This is who we were.
Oree Originol, like many whose creative practice is steeped in the rich history of art as an agent of change, is propelled forward in pursuit of justice. The Bay Area-based artist—primarily a painter, but also established in the realms of printing and digital media—was inspired to create the Justice For Our Lives project. The impactful portrait series eulogizes those individuals from marginalized communities killed by police.
The simple graphic rendering of 50 “ancestors,” as Originol refers to them—Rekia Boyd, Oscar Grant, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, and Tamir Rice among them—are readily available online for anyone to download and make their own. Thus, given true breath by the people, the Justice For Our Lives portraits have appeared on protest posters marched down the avenues of nearly every major U.S. city, on banners hoisted on courthouse steps, on T-shirts, and wheatpasted on to walls.
The project fights to ensure that the contours of each individual life lived, and cruelly lost, are not forgotten. It combats the dismissing of murder while Black, Brown, trans, undocumented, or mentally disabled into some bogus category of dispensable other. Instead, it affirms. It ignites. This is who we are.
We caught up with Oree Originol to learn more......
In Lawton, Oklahoma, Christina Tahhahwah was arrested by police at her grandparents house. She lived with bi-polar disorder and stopped taking her medications which led to her family calling the police to aid in taking her to the hospital for medical care. When she refused to leave the property, the police arrested her for trespassing and took her off to jail instead. The following day on November 14, she was “found” unresponsive in her cell. She was in cardiac arrest and was transferred to the hospital, where she later died. Her family was not notified of her heart attack until they received a Facebook message from family friend, who works at the hospital. When the family arrived at the hospital they received reports from fellow jail inmates that Christina Tahhahwah had been tasered for refusing to stop singing Comanche hymns. www.justiceforourlives.com www.gofundme.com/justiceforourlives
Join us this Friday at Yerba Buena Center For The Arts in SF for the group show, "Take This Hammer: Art + Media activism from The Bay Area feating a bunch of badass creative movers and shakers like Favianna Rodriguez, Culturestrike.net, Cat Brooks (BLM/APTP), Anti-eviction mapping project and others! My installation covers a 10x30ft wall, the largest wall ive done a #justiceforourlives installation on. Check out the progress shots below. Hope to see you there! For more information check out http://www.ybca.org/christian-frock-take-this-hammer
February 3, 2015, Yuvette Henderson, a 38-year-old mother of four children was shot and killed by the Emeryville Police on the Oakland-Emeryville border. Police received a call from Home Depot security of Yuvette allegedly shop lifting who appeared to be armed with a gun while attempting to run away. Witnesses say they saw Yuvette with both hands in the air, waving down a bus when she was shot by police and did not report seeing her with a gun, contradicting the report from police, saying Yuvette attempted a car jacking and asked her to drop her weapon and when she refused, shot and killed her. One of the officers who shot her had his body cam turned off and decided to turn on after the incident. The events leading up to the shooting have been obscured because Home Depot, Oakland PD, and Emeryville PD have refused to release any related video footage. Yuvette was shot within feet of Extra Space Storage’s surveillance cameras, the tapes from which are also being withheld from the public with the police claiming that the surveillance video system in this brand new storage center was “broken” on the day she was killed. To DOWNLOAD & SHARE this design, visit www.justiceforourlives.com and to DONATE to this art project, please visit www.gofundme.com/justiceforourlives