Photographs by Tyre Nichols, who was fatally beaten by five police officers and passed away three days later from his injuries in Memphis, Tennessee in January, will appear on billboards throughout the regions leading up to the Coachella festival, reports Peta Pixel. The photos by Nichols, who was born in California are a part of Desert X, a biennial art exhibition.
Titled Originals, the collection features photos that were taken when Nichols lived in Memphis. The collection includes a photo of a monument of Tom Lee, a Black river worker who rescued numerous people from the Mississippi River following a steamboat that capsized in 1925, a photo of the Hernando de Soto Bridge and a panoramic sunset.
On its website, Desert X shared that the reason behind including Nichols’ photography was as a tribute to those who lost their lives to police brutality and other forms of racism,
“Here, the silent beauty of these levitated images stands in stark contrast with the terror experienced by Nichols and so many others on the shoulder below,” stated the Desert X website. “But as with the vision, the message is also one of hope: hope that with restrictions on pretextual stops, California can lead the way in police reform; hope that together we can create a just society in which the fragile and beautiful talents of the likes of Tyre Nichols can flourish and grow.”
Neville Wakefield, the artistic director of Desert X, lauded Nichols for his creative ingenuity.
“We think about this as a way of celebrating Tyre’s imagination,” Wakefield said. “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.”
Originals will be on display on billboards in the Coachella Valley through May 7, 2023.