Thousands of people took part in the Black Lives Matter protest in London’s Hyde Park on Wednesday 3 June, following the murder of George Floyd by American police. Activists for racial equality held signs such as “no justice, no peace,” “being neutral is being complicit” and “I can’t breathe” – the words of George Floyd that have reverberated around the world. One of these Black Lives Matter protestors was digital artist Débora Silva. Inspired by what she saw that day, she made it her mission to create a series of 3D scans of some of the people who took part in the protest.
The scans show a digital version of individual Black Lives Matter protestors who took part in the anti-racism march. You can now view her incredible creations on Instagram. “I’m a visual artist with a background in sculpture and I’ve now adopted digital as a medium,” explains Débora. “My work empowers women, LGBTQI+ people, Black, POC and other minorities.”
“When it came to attending the Black Lives Matter protest in Hyde Park, it was important for me to show my support to the Black community. I always join causes I believe in. I do believe in an equal society in which everybody should have the same rights and privileges regardless of their skin colour, religion, gender or sexuality.”
Débora hopes that the 3D scans will stand alongside the thousands of photos and videos documenting the movement, choosing a digital medium that’s similar to the tangibility of sculpture. She told Dezeen magazine: “The relevance of the event sparked me to create the 3D portraits. I wanted to immortalise this historic moment. Protestors have been captured by different kinds of media and I wanted to try another technique.”
“As I develop as a digital artist, these are similar to me creating sculptures that portray people or events that I consider important. I chose these specific people based on the signs they were holding to amplify their message. My intention was to capture the great diversity of people supporting the cause across the globe.”
The role of the media
“I try to absorb my information from channels with similar political views. Although I’m aware that media channels are negatively portraying the protestors. In my opinion, everyone should have the right to protest for their human rights. As a woman, we had to fight for our rights and we still do. I believe the media reflects exactly the problem we are facing – a society based on inequality.”
Since the protest in Hyde Park, Débora’s work has faced mixed views. “The majority of people have appreciated my work. I had some criticism because it is a political subject and people have different points of view but my work is nothing more than supportive of the black community and this cause.”
George Floyd’s death and the death of many other black people as a result of police brutality prompted the protests for racial equality that started in Minneapolis in the United States and have now been replicated across the world. You can find resources and information about the Black Lives Matter movement here.