prison Artist

#SayHerName, a piece of protest art by C-Note, originally had a distinct focus but gained significant relevance within the Black Lives Matter movement after George Floyd’s tragic death, showcasing art’s ability to evolve beyond its initial purpose and address wider societal challenges.

The 2020 passing of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police catalyzed nationwide protests and unrest. In response, C-Note repurposed his work, initially crafted for the 2020 music video “Mask Protest” — a creative riff on “mass protest” — to serve as potent symbols of protest. Among these was his 2017 work, Strange Fruit, initially inspired by the disproportionately high suicide rates at the California Institution for Women in 2014-2015. C-Note remarked that high female mortality rates often ignite calls to action, encapsulated in the phrase “Say Her Name.” Although Strange Fruit vividly portrays the suicide of a Black woman, mirroring the historical acts of lynching that inspired Abel Meeropol’s 1937 poem, it was this very act of portrayal that lent the artwork its profound title.

C-Note expresses frustration with the art world’s recognition patterns, pointing out the lack of stylistic diversity in celebrated works while his art, which engages with the community on multiple levels — from billboards and murals to fashion and public service announcements — receives comparatively limited financial reward. His statement, “My art doesn’t live on walls, but in the streets,” reflects a commitment to making art that resonates with real-life struggles and activism, visible in places as varied as the Castro District in San Francisco to the very steps of jails, and in the hands of prominent activists.

Embrace a piece of art that breaks barriers

C-Note’s #SayHerName has grown to embody the spirit of the movement it names, demonstrating the transformative power of art in social activism. Add this compelling work to your collection or share its powerful message with others – click on the image below to explore 👇

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