When Walter Scott was shot and killed by a police officer in South Carolina earlier this month, artist Loring Cornish closed his gallery and began working on a new exhibition outside of his work studio in Baltimore, Maryland.
“I am in mourning for all of the black men that are dying needlessly, and the United States of America is doing nothing about it. And it seems like we can do nothing about police brutality,” he told Baltimore NBC affiliate WBAL.
The deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice and, sadly, many others have spurred nationwide protests and brought the issue of police brutality to the forefront of America’s consciousness in the past year.
But Cornish is protesting in his own way -- he grabbed some baby dolls, painted them black and hanged them from a tree in front of his studio.
“I wanted to make a statement. I wanted to show people exactly what's going on with a figure of something that I've been feeling. It’s pretty much death. We're being killed like innocent babies,” he said. “Who should get shot eight times?”
The bold exhibit has gotten mixed reviews from the community.
Warning: Some readers may find the following images disturbing.
— Agitator In Chief (@BaltoSpectator) April 13, 2015
— JoyLepolaStewart (@jlepolastewart) April 13, 2015
Baltimore resident Michael Scott told WBAL he believed the exhibit was successful in getting the message across but criticized that it was “a bit loud.” Others found it enlightening.
"I think everybody should wake up to it, because that's what's happening. It's happening everywhere, but the thing about it is that it’s been going on. It's just now coming to TV," Jonathan Esters, another resident, said.
Cornish said he hanged the dolls as a visual representation of what some black Americans are currently feeling given the number of black men who have died because of alleged police violence.
“We’re feeling this. This is not something we should just gloss over. We’re actually feeling death in our community,” he said. “We are being lynched, killed and murdered legally in the United States.”