Artist Sylvia Maier wanted to do something special to honor the African-American mothers who have lost their sons to police violence. So she created a new exhibition of oil paintings, “The Circle of Mothers Project,” that embodies their love, pain and sacrifice, but also the impact that systematic racism can have on Black families.
Most important, these women are depicted as heroes with each one being painted inside US coin currency with the names of their deceased children and the phrases, “United States of America,” “In God We Trust,” and “Liberty.”
“These mothers, they are the living victims. Living with the loss of their children,” Maier recently told the Huffington Post.
“Their children were denied liberty just because of the way they looked in a racist society. It’s not just prejudice when it infringes on someone’s rights to live and be happy and pursue an education. It’s hypocritical to see those words on a coin. Does it mean ‘liberty for all’? What makes people think only some of us deserve liberty?” she asked.
The mothers included are Kadiatou Diallo (mother of Amadou Diallo), Sabrina Fulton (mother of Trayvon Martin), Constance Malcolm (mother of Ramarley Graham), Iris Baez (mother of Anthony Baez) and Valerie Bell (mother of Sean Bell) to name a fews.
And for Maier, it’s her responsibility to use her artistic talents to help shed light on this growing epidemic that affects all of us.
“I don’t see how someone can turn away from what’s going on in the world around them. I’m a mother and the fact that these beautiful people have had to suffer this – it’s just an outrage. I don’t want to leave this for our future generation. It’s not just a black issue, everyone needs to care. What’s it going to take for you to care?,” Maier told The Huff Po.
“I want to show that there is a huge crisis in our community, where women are mourning their children. It’s not a political thing. It’s a human thing. I want the mother in Westchester to relate to these images as much as the mother in The Bronx,” she added.
It’s important to note that these works are part of Maier’s larger exhibtion, “Currency Series,” which pays homage to unsung heroes in our history.