Artist paints a 'Black Lives Matter' mural in Midtown Detroit

- A Miami-based muralist and handwritten artist finished his commissioned project in midtown Monday. From his first few brush strokes, he's had everyone talking.


As handwritten artist Renda Writer paints the words Black Lives Matter, let's make the distinction between what he's writing over and over on this wall, and the fact that, yes, all lives matter.

"All lives matter," he said. "That's a given, all lives matter. My life matters and I'm not black. All lives definitely matter.

"But the topic of the mural is Black Lives Matter. The Black Lives Matter slogan came out in 2012 as a reaction to the Trayvon Martin shooting."

"The Black Lives Matter is the movement," said George N'namdi. "We're dealing with the movement and dealing with the issues and policies of policing and incarceration."

N'namdi is founder of The N'namdi Center for Contemporary Art. He commissioned Writer, from Miami, to come to Detroit and paint this. The mural is right there around the corner from Seva restaurant.

"I thought it was very fascinating that he could write, particularly the very small letters over and over again."

Over and over large and small, narrow and wide, Black Lives Matter, calling attention to the movement.

"What happens is people begin to have an opinion, people then stop," N'namdi said. "Not only are they looking at it as artistic expression but they also start thinking of the issues also. We've gotten very positive feedback from that."

The conversation started almost from the first painted sentence. now one week and 80 hours of labor later, Renda's heard many comments. As a dialogue-starter it's serving a social purpose.

"It will continue to serve its purpose," Renda said. “This is public art and it will stay up for a while and will continue to remind people Black Lives Matter and that's it."

To see the mural for yourself, visit The N'namdi Center at 52 E. Forest in Midtown.

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