Many of the murals featured messages of social justice and racial disparity as artists expressed and captured the feelings of protesters pushing for change. Raleigh native Akira Dudley is one of the artists commissioned to create several pieces downtown.
"They were approved, and they were funded by the state and by the city," Dudley explained. He was commissioned to create seven murals in Raleigh's Junction West area.
Raleigh artist Akira Dudley helped paint social justice murals downtown in summer of 2020 now he’s editing a new book called Raleigh Murals featuring them. Preorder is May 25, marking one year since the death of #GeorgeFloyd proceeds go to charity #ABC11 https://t.co/oo6vfCjkWU pic.twitter.com/yKFpGiQYWA— @AmberRupinta (ABC11 (@RupintaABC11) May 20, 2021
"One has George Floyd with a little bit of stuff coming out of his head to kind of showcase how he was a martyr in some sense, for all of the events that happened after and transpired and went on. Then, another one is Breonna Taylor crying with some flowers going underneath it. Another one is a Black man so it's like a superhero almost, and then another one is like talking about qualified immunity," Dudley added.
Many of the murals were painted on boarded-up buildings and businesses and as the one-year anniversary of the death of George Floyd is May 25 and many images are now taken down, they can still be seen featured in a new book, Raleigh Murals.
"It's about 100 plus pages and about 60 artists are featured in that, and it compiles all the murals that were going on last year right after the riots happened," Dudley said.
Dudley and Raleigh artist Laura Pfaff compiled the book which costs $30 and plans to give proceeds of the sales to several nonprofits.
"We're going to be donating a portion of the proceeds to two charities," Dudley explained. "One is Emancipate NC, which helps dismantle structural racism and the other is the African American Atelier in Greensboro. The other portion of the proceeds will be going to help fund some art in the community so we can make art with kids," he added.
Dudley says pre-orders of Raleigh Murals will be available on May 25, the one-year anniversary of George Floyd's death with an official release on Amazon on Juneteenth (June 19) the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.
Along with the online sales, local downtown Ralegh retailers House of Swank and Father + Son will have copies in store available.