Michael Brown Jr. was shot and killed by a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer in August
An art exhibit featuring Brown opened in Chicago last week
There’s no doubt that a new art exhibit now showing on Chicago’s South Side is both shocking and thought-provoking.
It shows a life-size replica of Michael Brown Jr. lying face down on the floor, ringed with crime-scene tape, just as the black teen looked after he was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, nearly a year ago.
For Brown’s family, it’s a divisive image – one that splits them in two.
“I really, really, really would like for them to take that away,” his father, Michael Brown Sr., told CNN affiliate KTVI. “I think it’s disturbing, disgusting … that thought, that picture is still in my head.”
Brown said he was never contacted before the exhibit called “Confronting Truths: Wake up!” opened last week. It features the work of artist Ti-Rock Moore.
But the other side of the family was contacted by Gallery Guichard, where the exhibit is running, and support it.
Brown Jr.’s great aunt, Sheila Morgan, told affiliate WGN that Michael’s story is one that needs to be told.
“This is very important. Michael’s life mattered. That’s why it’s so important for us to be here,” she said. “I think the world, the community needs to understand that what happened to Michael … if it happened to Michael, it could happen to anyone.”
Co-owner Andre Guichard apologized for the mix up, but said the gallery had done its due diligence in trying to contact both sides of the family. He said the gallery didn’t realize Michael Brown Sr. was left out of the conversation until he contacted them after the exhibit opened last week.
Michael Brown Jr.’s fatal shooting in August 2014 sparked weeks of violence and protests in the St. Louis suburb of 21,000 people. The 18-year-old became the symbol of violence against black males by white police officers.
For Brown’s father, it’s still a bit too personal to be a piece of art.
“The feelings that I kind of tried to bottle up and put to the side a little bit, which I have good days and bad days still anyway, that (exhibit) just brought the whole day back alive,” he said.