Artist Statement

They That Matter – Larry Winston Collins

While searching through some old books at a local thrift store, I found an old copy of a Times magazine dated April 20, 2015. On the magazine cover was the title BLACK LIVES MATTER in large bold white letters. In the lower section of the cover was a photograph of a black male running and in another photograph a white male police officer is shooting at the black male runner. The black man running in the photograph is Walter Scott, who was shot eight times while fleeing a North Charleston police officer named Michael Slager.

Cover, Time magazine, April 20, 2015

Knowledgeable of the Black Lives Matter movement, I am keenly aware of the events in the US concerning the shooting of black men by police. I was deeply moved while reading the stories in the magazine describing the circumstances leading to the large number of black male fatalities. I felt the stories of these African American men and women needed to be told; and people should honestly take notice of these victims and what it has to say about our society.

While trying to think about the best way to present this exhibition, I recalled a series of works I made during the mid-1990s titled All for the Cause. I created 33 portraits of individuals who died during the civil rights movement. Many of the persons killed were never vindicated. I soon realized the stories of the slain civil rights workers had many characteristics similar to the stories of victims who have experienced police violence. The fact is that black people are still being killed with very few indictments. What I wanted to do for this exhibition, just as I did for the exhibition All for the Cause, is create individual shrines Illuminating each person who has lost their life. My motive is to show the humanity of the victims and that their lives mattered.     

Artist Interview