Tyre Nichol’s Photography to Appear on Palm Springs, CA Billboards

Tyre Nichols Desertx-billboard

*Tyre Nichols always loved photography and dreamed about shooting his way into a career. While his dream was stripped from him, now thru May 7, will be his most significant turning point as a selection of his photos will be featured on billboards across Palm Springs, California.

The Desert X artistic director, Neville Wakefield, said, “We think about this as a way of celebrating Tyre’s imagination.” He added, “He was an aspiring photographer, and in that sense, we’re commemorating not just his life but the creative potential of all lives truncated or cut short by police violence.”

Ben Crump, the famed lawyer who is representing the Nichols family, was also instrumental in the project. Talking to the New York Times, he said, “We believe in the mission of Desert X and feel that now, more than ever, art giving voice to important social issues is crucial.”

The Originals, as the billboards are dubbed, will comprise Nichol’s six photos taken in Memphis, including one appealing shot of the Hernando de Soto Bridge, a Tom Lee monument – a Black river employee who saved several people from a capsized boat on the Mississippi River – and a coloured sunset.

Wakefield and Diana Campbell, a well-known curator, organized this year’s edition of Desert X. According to New York Times; Jenny Gil showed Wakefield the website where Nichols posted his photography.

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Tyre Nichols (via Ben Crump)
Tyre Nichols (via Ben Crump)

Wakefield said, “[This presentation] “contrast the serenity and beauty of these images, levitated above the roadways, with the violence that happens on the side of the road, particularly to Black and brown bodies.” He added, “And in so doing, we hope to make people think about the importance of traffic-stop reform.”

Five Memphis police officers ferociously beat Nichols at a traffic stop on Jan 7. The police officers were charged with aggravated assault, second-degree murder, official oppression, aggravated kidnapping, and official misconduct.

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