Briana Sykes, Rituals of Commemoration, 2021
press to zoom

Rituals of Commemoration 2014-ongoing

Activism and Social Change

About the work

What began as a gesture of anger and disbelief at the police murder of Michael Brown in 2014 turned into seven years of focused research, examination and inquiry, undertaking the collection, organization, and visualization of injustice, making it accessible to the public through the creation of a series of sculptures in the form of inscribed brick columns, flag memorials, collages, drawings, and digital drawings, an extension of my activism. This work ensures that the names of Black men, women and youth killed by police are not forgotten, giving the lives lost dignity and respect. This process is self-regulated and ongoing.

The driving impulse is my desire to use art as a tool to engage and inspire by spurring new understanding through expanded audience demographics, influencing opinion, and creating awareness that encourages civic dialogue. Through this work I offer audiences of all ages, abilities, orientations, and cultural backgrounds to engage in brave and expansive conversations and see themselves in issues relevant to their lives. While differing views may sometimes raise discomfort and dissent this work is a conduit for open sharing and learning with partnerships formed alongside individuals in cultural and educational institutions that affect civic action and encourage citizen participation locally, nationally and internationally.