A Movement not a Moment

Zoom into the artwork by artist Jasmine Thompson, representing Black British culture from Bristol and beyond

A Movement not a Moment (2021) by Jasmine ThompsonBristol Museums

“A Movement Not A Moment” is a mural by Bristol artist Jasmine Thompson that pays respect to and honours the Black Lives Matter Movement. It focuses the lens on poignant moments over this last year and beyond, and highlights how people have come together to instigate  huge cultural, political and institutional change not just in the UK but globally.

Jasmine’s work is often centred around politics and activism, using illustration as a platform to give voice to underrepresented people, acting as a catalyst for conversation. 

A Movement not a Moment (2021) by Jasmine ThompsonBristol Museums

This work showcases those who’ve utilized their platform in challenging times, and nods to cultural references that have brought joy in times of darkness. The mural touches upon St Paul’s carnival and carnival culture as a whole, the fall of Colston, Say Their Names, the protests of 2020, and many more.

Taking the knee

In 2016, Colin Kaepernick chose to sit during the national anthem at an NFL preseason game. This progressed to taking the knee, and was a gesture against racism and police brutality in the United States. 
What followed caused a huge divide not just within the NFL but internationally, being dropped from the team and subject to huge criticism. 

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of colour,”  Kaepernick explained at a press conference after beginning his protests.

Since then, many athletes across multiple sports have chosen to take the knee in solidarity, pushing for equality not just within sport, but in society. Lewis Hamilton has advocated massively in Formula 1 for more inclusion and to end racism, and is pictured in the mural kneeling alongside Kaepernick

City Road

The setting of the mural is City Road, a main road lying in the heart of St Pauls, Bristol. For many generations it has been home to the African and Caribbean communities in Bristol, and sees St Paul’s carnival bless the street every year. 

Pictured are street food stalls, Samba dancers in full carnival dress with a sound system by their feet, and flags being flown from the windows.

Stephen Lawrence

Stephen Lawrence was a black British teenager from Plumstead, London, who was murdered whilst waiting for a bus in a racially motivated attack in 1993. 

Strong public opinions rose against the accused and the police who handled the case, and in 2005 (as a result of the findings in the case) the law on double jeopardy in murder cases was repealed.

Since then, the Stephen Lawrence Foundation has been set up, existing to inspire a more equal, inclusive society, and to foster opportunities for marginalised young people in the UK. 
Stephen Lawrence day was first celebrated in 2019, and falls every year on April 22nd, the date of his death. The Day is marked officially in the British calendar as a celebration of Stephen’s life and legacy.      

George Floyd

In 2020, the tragic murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police in Minneapolis, USA, shook the world. A video circulated of Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck, and sparked international riots and protests, lasting weeks.
His death spurred nationwide protests against police brutality and a reckoning over everything from public monuments to sports team names.

What followed was a huge conversation and debate on racism in 2020, and how far we as society still need to go to ensure black people are treated equally.
George Floyd’s daughter is pictured on the shoulders of her guardian, proclaiming “my daddy changed the world”.

Marsha P Johnson

Marsha P Johnson was an American gay liberation activist and self identified drag queen. Johnson played a key role in the 1969 Stonewall Uprising and advocated publicly for gay rights throughout their life. 

They joined the Gay Liberation Front, and marched in the first gay rally. The LGBTQ+ community have not only championed the BLM movement but have been pillars carrying it since the beginning, and so it’s important their impact is also celebrated and acclaimed. 
BLM was founded by three Black women, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, two of whom identify as queer.

Until we secure equality rights, and as long as police brutality, oppression, and discrimination exist, Pride will continue to have roots in protest, and it will always be tied to the Black Lives Matter movement. Acts of violence towards black LGTBQ+ people gain  less national media attention, reminding us that the work cannot stop here.

“We are a prime target because of our Blackness, and our intersectionality of being trans adds an extra target on our backs"  -Jonovia Chase

Colston plinth & Jen Reid

Following the death of George Floyd, a Black Lives Matter protest in Bristol saw the fall of the Colston statue in June 2020. Edward Colston was a slave trader, and his statue was subject to huge controversy with many attempts to have it removed.

It was eventually toppled, defaced, and thrown into the harbour during the protests on June 7th.

This symbolised a lot for Bristol: a moment the city united, music venue Colston Hall and Colston Girls School changing their names, and opened up a conversation for how Bristol can better address it’s history and ties to the slave trade.

Jen Reid is pictured next to the plinth, holding her fist in the air. A statue of Jen Reid, a local Bristol resident and activist, was erected on the empty plinth in July 2020, but was soon removed.  

Names on street

The names etched into the street are the names of some of those who’ve lost their lives or been victim to police brutality and racism across the world. 

Whilst this act was first seen in Black Lives Matter protests in the United States, it has since been done in the UK, as an act of remembrance to those we have lost.

Black panther & Chadwick Boseman

Black Panther and the legacy of Chadwick Boseman has been hugely substantial for black culture and people. 

It highlighted the importance of representation, and sparked a huge shift in the film industry, showing black people in positions of power, and for the first time- as superheroes on the big screen. 

Chadwick Boseman, who played T’Challa, tragically passed away in August 2019, leaving a huge mark on not only the industry for his talent and legacy, but the lives of black people everywhere.  

“We all know what it’s like to be told that there is not a place for you to be featured. Yet you are young, gifted and Black. We know what it’s like to be told there’s not a screen for you to be featured on, a stage for you to be featured on. We know what it’s like to be the tail and not the head. We know what it’s like to be beneath and not above.”- Chadwick Boseman

John Boyega

During the Black Lives Matter protests in London, 2020, actor John Boyega delivered a moving and emotive speech to a crowd of thousands. He broke down in tears, proclaiming “I might not even have a job after this, but f**k that” which highlighted the significance and bravery it takes to speak out about politics and civil rights when you’re in positions of power or status. 

His words resonated with people everywhere, and he received support from across the film industry and public. 

Tarana Burke

#MeToo was a movement that swept the globe in 2017, as it became the face of a movement where women in the film industry spoke out about sexual abuse allegations. It was initially used by activist and sexual assault survivor Tarana Burke in 2006, and its purpose is to empower sexually assaulted  individuals through empathy, solidarity and strength in numbers

It was initially used by activist and sexual assault survivor Tarana Burke in 2006, and its purpose is to empower sexually assaulted individuals through empathy and solidarity through strength in numbers.  It has been adopted by both men and women, as a visible demonstration of being a survivor of sexual assault and harassment.    

Young Kings and Queens

There is a huge underrepresentation of black people, especially women, within traditional art in gallery spaces, and black people are rarely portrayed as figures of beauty, power, and royalty. 

We are accustomed to seeing white figures depicted as Kings and Queens. The two children dressed in royal garments at the forefront of the mural challenge that, and are there to change the narrative of our absence in these contemporary spaces.

The crowns are also a subtle nod to the work and legacy of Jean Michel-Basquiat, a black artist and pioneer, who is a huge inspiration of mine.

Black Panthers

The Black Panther Party was a political party founded in 1966 by Bobby Seale and Huey P Newton. The initial focus was to tackle and challenge police brutality, and later shifted to a variety of community social programs as a core activity. 

Throughout the 3 decades it was in operation, the party received huge backlash and was subject to much controversy, and was seen as “criminal” and “too violent”.

They were a notable part of history and played a role in the civil rights movement. Party members infamously donned black berets and leather jackets, which are still instantly recognisable symbols of the BPP to this day.

"There is power in positive representation. And I hope this piece simply existing on these walls encourages the commission of more black art in contemporary art spaces, and opens the door for more young black creatives to do the same...

"...It’s been one year since the fall of Colston and whilst steps have been made, we are constantly reminded that the work is far from over. Whilst this period of time has brought a huge amount of trauma to many of us, I hope this piece celebrates the strength and powering unity."

"We must continue to speak the names of those lost as a result of racism and prejudice. We must continue to hold difficult conversations, and ensure those spaces continue to be made. We must continue to uplift underrepresented voices and narratives.We must continue to push for an equal society."
- Jasmine Thompson

Credits: Story

Jasmine Thompson 

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