Use Your Voice
Medium:Latex on Particle Board
Note: 4ft x 8ft (one board)
One plywood panel with "Use Your Voice" in orange, pink, blue, purple and black.
On May 30th, 2020, a peaceful protest in support of Black Lives Matter was held in downtown Grand Rapids in response to the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers. Following the protest, a late night riot caused damage to vehicles and buildings. In the following days, the Grand Rapids community worked together to clean up the damage, including many businesses who had to cover up broken windows with plywood. Seeing the plywood as blank canvases, graffiti artist Guillermo Soleto reached out to Hannah Berry of Lions and Rabbits Center for the Arts who brought together local business owners and property managers to support the pivotal community artist project that became "Windows GR". An artist liaison group of Jasmine Bruce ('18), Leandro Lara, Adrian Butler and Kendall Redmon with Asia Horne ('13) of Free Alchemy Studio as the catalyst helped advocate for the amplification of local Black artists and artists of color to express themselves using the project as a platform. The art addresses systemic racism and injustice while cultivating messages of equality and freedom of speech directly from the creative perspectives of Grand Rapids artists. Since then, pieces from the project have been acquired by local institutions such as Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives, Grand Rapids Public Museum, Aquinas College and now proudly at Grand Valley State University.
On her work artist Rhiannan Sibbald comments, "My work exists between the worlds of graphic design and illustration. I primarily create hand-drawn lettering, accompanied by colorful compositions that engage with the letterforms. Utilizing lettering as both a compositional and communicative asset allows viewers to receive messages in bold, unexpected ways.
This piece was quickly executed in the wake of local Black Lives Matter efforts through the Windows GR project. These windows, which had been broken during riots in downtown Grand Rapids, were boarded up and painted by dozens of artists sharing their message, many in relation to the BLM movement and the Black experience. My aim for this piece was to stand in solidarity with people of color and emphasize the importance of using words as a tool for
enacting change and justice."