Photo by Duncan Freeman
Jun 21, 2021
A monument to George Floyd in Flatbush, destined for Manhattan
Floyd's brother Terrance said at the Juneteenth unveiling of the giant bust: 'My bro is here. He resided in Houston but he’s here'
On the morning of Juneteenth a sculpture of George Floyd was unveiled in Flatbush to a crowd of dozens, including Terrence Floyd, George Floyd’s brother. The statue, on display on the corner of Flatbush and Nostrand Avenues at Flatbush Junction for the next three weeks, was created by Chris Carnabuci in collaboration with ConfrontART using more than 600 pounds of wood based off of a 3D printed model.
The statue is a six-foot tall bust of Floyd, entirely made out of nearly 200 horizontal slats of plywood, seated on top of a five-foot black rectangular pedestal. One side of the pedestal is inscribed with the words “Pay attention and continue to keep my big brother’s name ringing in the ears of everyone,” credited to Terrence Floyd. Another side displays lines from the rapper Papoose, who also spoke at the unveiling, saying “George Floyd was hunted. / Knees were used to prey… / In life / We should only use knees / to pray.”
During the unveiling Terrence Floyd led the crowd in a chant of “We are Floyd,” saying that his late brother “was the sacrifice,” and telling NBC that the monument was a “major statement for a major person.” City council member Farah Louis addressed the crowd, saying that “[Floyd’s] death changed our country. It forced us to see what we had been blind to for many years. It forced America to confront its painful legacy of systemic racism and police brutality.”
The monument to Floyd, who was murdered on May 25, 2020, by Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin, now stands behind a circle of metal police barricades. The NYPD first placed the barricades when the sculpture was being set up. Much to the chagrin of Lindsay Eshelman, co-founder of ConfrontART, the barricades remain. Eshleman told Brookln Magazine that she, Terrence Floyd, and Carnabuci “really want,” the barricades to be removed because they “want people to go up to it… we want the community to touch [the statue], to connect with it and feel it.” For now, the barricades make it so observers must stand more than a yard back from the statute.
According to Eshelman, the monument was placed in Flatbush junction because Floyd wanted the monument to his brother to be “bigger and for the people.” When the monument moves to its permanent home in Union Square in Manhattan, it will be joined by similar statues of John Lewis and Breonna Taylor, also built by Carnabuci.
Louis hopes that “it will prompt constituents, residents and passersby to continue to march, mobilize, organize and educate for meaningful change.” Terrence Floyd ended his emotional speech Saturday by saying, “We hold the power and once we understand that we can really understand and celebrate Juneteenth and celebrate freedom … my bro is here, he resided in Houston but he’s here.”
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