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Twin Flames Exhibition Bridges Memorials from Minneapolis to Phoenix

Community-led exhibition at the ASU Art Museum will invite reflections and contributions with objects, photographs and art from George Floyd Square

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"Twin Flames" art exhibit at the ASU Art Museum in Tempe on Friday, Jan. 19, 2024.

In a collaboration between the ASU Art Museum, Center for Work and Democracy and the George Floyd Global Memorial, an upcoming exhibition titled "Twin Flames: The George Floyd Uprising from Minneapolis to Phoenix" seeks to spark meaningful dialogue through the collective power of creativity, arts and imagination.

The exhibition, scheduled to run from Feb. 3 through July 28 at the ASU Art Museum, is an extension of George Floyd Square in Minneapolis, challenging the conventional notions of memorials. 

 "We see this exhibition as an extension of George Floyd Square, as in direct opposition to that traditional type of memorial," said Brittany Corrales, an ASU Art Museum Curator. 

Corrales said the exhibit is a community-driven, people-powered memorial that amplifies untold stories from marginalized communities.

Moreover, the exhibition invites active participation. "You can bring your offering or an outdoor ofrenda that will have on the part outside of the gallery, but you can also come to the museum and make your offerings—there will be supplies for you to make your own while you're there," Corrales said. 

This gesture further emphasizes the community-driven nature of the exhibition, inviting individuals to contribute to the collective narrative.

Rashad Shabazz, Associate Professor of African & African American Studies at the School of Social Transformation, highlights the global outpouring of support after George Floyd's tragic death. He notes the vast offerings worldwide, including notes, poems, paintings and signs. 

"Art can move into spaces and have conversations that can be contentious, but do it in a way that resonates with people," Shabazz said. 

The memorial constructed at 38th and Chicago following the death of George Floyd, now archived, will be installed in the museum, allowing the Phoenix and Arizona communities to engage with the emotions and expressions captured in that moment.

"Art has historically been one of the most powerful forms of protest," said Jeanelle Austin, Executive Director of George Floyd Global Memorial. "Artists, because of (their) dispositions for the world and how they see the world, are prophetic." 

She said collective voices are essential in pursuing racial justice and creating a space for diverse experiences. 

"We all come from different cultural backgrounds, so this exhibit will be experienced differently by different people," Austin said.

"Twin Flames" art exhibit at the ASU Art Museum in Tempe on Friday, Jan. 19, 2024.

The exhibition features offerings selected by a community-led group of Black Phoenicians representing various voices and experiences. Shabazz said the meticulous selection process involved Zoom meetings over several months, ensuring diverse representation.

Corrales reveals a unique aspect of the exhibition: "We have the original wooden fist sculpture from George Floyd Square, which artist Jordan Powell Karis did." 

In contrast to traditional monuments, "Twin Flames" is positioned as a powerful, community-led initiative that recognizes the creative and artistic expressions of pain and hope that exist beyond the walls of museums. 

The exhibition aims to foster dialogue, understanding and empathy, so it invites the community to support its mission. The call to action encourages spreading the word and contributing to the campaign, recognizing the importance of stoking the fires of community care and creativity.

"Twin Flames" emerges as a unique space where the community can engage with the emotional, political and existential aspects of the George Floyd Uprising. It ultimately challenges preconceptions about memorialization and affirms the power of collective, community-driven expressions in the pursuit of justice.

Edited by Sophia Braccio, Walker Smith and Angelina Steel.

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