Love Black…

AK Public Art Initiative Announces New Edreys Wajed Mural at Say Yes Buffalo

Buffalo, NY – Today the Albright-Knox’s Public Art Initiative announced that a new
mural by Buffalo artist Edreys Wajed (American, born 1974) will be installed at Say
Yes Buffalo at 712 Main Street. The design was produced in collaboration with local
mural artist and sign painter James “Yames” Moffitt (American, born 1987).
Edreys Wajed is one of the most prominent artists working in Buffalo today. He has
been a celebrated figure in the cultural scene in Buffalo for decades as a musician,
poet, playwright, and designer. His first major public commission came with the
Freedom Wall project in 2016 where he established himself as a visual force with an
unparalleled voice. Since that time, Wajed has gone on to produce numerous
murals and installations throughout the region and beyond.

In the wake of George Floyd’s tragic murder, our country has had to reckon with
deep-rooted aspects of systemic racism. This has resulted in artists considering
their roles and responsibilities in extending the conversation and dialogue. More
than ever, the cultural movement of Black Lives Matter, spearheaded by Alicia
Garza (depicted by Julia Bottoms on the Freedom Wall), Opal Tometi, and Patrisse
Cullors, has reached a new importance across America.

Wajed’s contribution to our civic conversation is established by his profound yet
minimal design for a mural that states in the silhouettes of figures: “Love Black
boys even when they become men,” and “Love Black girls even when they become
women.”

With his frank and passionate words, Wajed exposes how our culture perpetuates
stereotypes of Black children as beautiful and harmless, but at some invisible stage
of their lives, and through no fault of their own, they may be deemed dangerous as
adults. By revealing this cultural reality, Wajed shows why the statement “Black
Lives Matter” is so profound, yet only the beginning of a long and necessary
conversation.

“Love Black Boys and Love Black Girls is a phrase and design I’ve been massaging
for years now,” said Wajed. “It wasn’t until a dear friend added the later portion
‘even when they become men and women,’ that the full design and concept truly
came to be.”

This mural will stand as an important reminder for our citizens to continually
reevaluate relationships with Black people throughout our nation and recognize that
we must love our adult Black neighbors, coworkers, partners, and all people of
color.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
The Albright-Knox’s Public Art Initiative is an innovative partnership between the
museum and the County of Erie established in 2013 to enhance our shared sense of
place and cultural identity in the urban and suburban landscapes of Western New
York. The City of Buffalo joined the partnership in 2014. The goal of the initiative is
to create spaces of dialogue where diverse communities have the ability to socially
engage with, actively respond to, and cooperatively produce great public art that is
capable of empowering individuals, creating stronger neighborhoods, and
establishing Western New York as a critical cultural center.

%d bloggers like this: