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Emmett Till Painting Sparks Backlash and Powerful Protest

Parker Bright, a Black artist has been standing in front of a painting called, “Open Casket” with the words “Black Death Spectacle” written on his back  since Friday.

His demonstration is a peaceful protest against a painting by Dana Schutz, a White artist, whose body of work is currently exhibiting at the Whitney Biennial and intends to illustrate the photographs of Emmett Till, who was beaten and mutilated by two White men in 1955.

The gruesome images of Till’s attack were first published in JET Magazine and sparked the civil rights movement. It remains as a part of history that cuts deep in relation to racial injustice and violence.

Schutz painting translates none of this, her critics say.

In a statement posted to his Facebook, Bright refers to the painting as a “mockery” and an “injustice to the Black community.”

Schutz tried to defend her body of work in a statement to the New York Times:

“I don’t know what it is like to be Black in America but I do know what it is like to be a mother. Emmett was Mamie Till’s only son. The thought of anything happening to your child is beyond comprehension. Their pain is your pain. My engagement with this image was through empathy with his mother.”

The controversy has caused a widespread reaction across social media with many asking for the painting to be removed.

Rg @desembocaduraa today at The Whitney Biennial #whitneybiennial #danaschutz #emmetttill

A post shared by Parker Bright (@du_rag_model) on

The controversy has caused a widespread reaction across social media with many asking for the painting to be removed.

@whitneymuseum I think it’s mighty disrespectful for you all to display Dana Schutz’ photo of Emmet Till. You should really remove this

— Mahdi 陈 🌹 (@My_D_) March 17, 2017

Schutz and involved parties, THIS does not offer healing to the hyper racial tensions that existed more than 60 years ago nor that exist today.

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