Jammie Holmes memorialized Floyd’s last words by attaching aerial banners to airplanes that read “Please I can't breathe” and “They're going to kill me” in Detroit and New York City respectively, CNN reports. Banners in Los Angeles, Miami, and Dallas read, “My stomach hurts,” “My neck hurts,” and “Everything hurts”—Floyd's final pleas that were caught on video by a bystander.
The artist said his project was motivated by “a need for unity and the understanding that what happened to George Floyd is happening all over America,” per CNN.
“Our mothers are burying us way too early,” Holmes added. “My fiancée shouldn't worry every time I'm headed out of the house on my own. Yes, I carry a pistol, Mr. Officer. I carry it to protect myself from you by any means necessary. At some point, you will realize you can't kill us all.”
Holmes explained on his website that the U.S. suffers from a “culture of fear and hateful discrimination” that has “increased in its intensity since 2018.” He organized the project with the help of Detroit's Library Street Collective, and characterized the work as an “act of social conscience and protest” that’s aim is to "bring people together in their shared incense at the inhumane treatment of American citizens.”
He specifically chose the aerial banners for a reason.
“The use of sky media to recount Floyd's final words presents a contrast to the noise of digital media and employs a form of communication that is most often used by the privileged to announce sporting events, marriage proposals or promote consumption,” his website reads. “It is rarely used for political or social purposes—to exercise free speech—because it is an outlet unavailable to the poor and marginalized.”
Floyd’s tragic murder has inspired artists around the world to create public works. Minnesota artist Cadex Herrera helped work on a street mural at the intersection where Floyd was arrested, telling CNN that art serves as a type of “therapy” for communities impacted by adversity.
“Art can say things you cannot express with words,” he said. “It brings the community together to reflect, to grieve, for strength and for support.”