A bronze bust of George Floyd was vandalized on the morning of Sunday, October 3, according to the New York City Police Department. The bust was installed as part of Confront Art’s “SEEINJUSTICE” exhibition in New York City’s Union Square. The art installation opened to the public on Friday evening and also features busts of Breonna Taylor and late Congressman John Lewis.
“There’s video footage police were able to ascertain,” NYPD detective Frances Sammon told CNN. “They show a male ducking down under one of the statues. He then mixes something together, and, as he skates away, he throws a container of paint at the statue.”
Harmony Seaburg, one of the volunteers who helped clean up the statue, said “it was really hard to see this larger-than-life man like this.” They then added, “We’re trying to get all the paint off his face, but it’s very emotional.”
This is not the first time that a bust of George Floyd has been vandalized.
Another statue of Floyd was unveiled in celebration of Juneteenth in Flatbush, Brooklyn earlier this year. At the time, the bust was defaced by a white nationalist hate group, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. “In Flatbush, it was four days after the opening,” Chris Carnabuci, the artist who made both busts, told CNN. “In this case, the official opening with the press was Thursday, so it’s only been a few days.” Carnabuci said he isn’t shocked but is still “pissed”. “It’s a very counterproductive thing to do, and it’s not the kind of civil discourse — the keyword being civil — I wanted.”
The statues in Union Square were unveiled in order to honor the lives of those represented and to highlight the voices of the Black Lives Matter movement. “They took ownership of the statue, not only because of the subject matter, but because for the first time someone brought a large scale public artwork to their community, which sometimes is passed over for more ‘deserving’ locations,” Lindsay Eshelman, Confront Art’s co-founder, told CNN. “This is our goal. Art is inspiring. Art is a catalyst for conversation, and bringing these pieces into communities where they spark conversation and inspiration … well, then our mission with these statues will be a success.”