The 411 Magazine The 411 Issue 1 Jan/Feb 2017 - Page 15

FEATURE
the wall of Union Market was crazy because it was a place and neighbourhood he visited in high school — it was a place that he said , “ made him .”
The social justice-driven photography mural is also sponsored by the D . C . Office of Cable Television , Film , Music and Entertainment ( OCTFME ) in celebration of Creative Economy Month , an initiative aimed at inspiring creativity across D . C .’ s neighbourhoods . The 6th Street mural was installed in partnership with Union Market and national artistic collective Creative Mornings .
people who heard about it through word of mouth . There is a portrait of participant Ainz Neal , a father , creative , and NYC native who splits his time between NYC and D . C . “ I chose to participate in the ‘ WE LOVE YOU PROJECT ’ because it shows our community that we can come together and help change the perception of how we are viewed as black men ,” Neal said . “ I felt that it was something that was very necessary and important . I brought my son .”
The reaction has been incredible . People in cars beep when passing , jump out and take pictures , or walk by looking at each photo . Bryon ’ s own father is one of the portraits on the wall . On Thursday , Summers also photographed students from KIPP D . C . College Preparatory School at Union Market , and spoke to them about creativity , diversity , identity and celebrating their image as influential members of society . Summers told them that having his project on
“ Bryon Summers ’ WE LOVE YOU photography installation at Union Market is a remarkable example of creativity ,” said OCTFME Executive Director Angie Gates . “ He is an incredibly talented , visionary photographer and OCTFME is pleased to support his vision as a D . C . creative .”
“ We have worked with Bryon on various creative projects in the past , but nothing has felt as urgent as this ,” says Sally Rumble , Chief Happiness Officer at Creative Mornings . “ In its simplicity , the ‘ WE LOVE YOU PROJECT ’ disarms this hate and allows black men and boys to take their image back . It ’ s a testament to the powerful role that art plays in activism . To quote artist and activist Paul Robeson : ‘ Art is the gatekeeper of truth .’”
Summers will continue his project in other cities , and will begin photographing women in his next portrait sessions . For more information about Summers and his work , visit : www . TheWeLoveYouProject . com and follow @ theweloveyouproject on Instagram and use the hashtag # WeLoveYouDC www . unionmarketdc . com
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