Storie Nzassi, the 7-year-old granddaughter of Delegate Delores L. McQuinn of Richmond, holds
an enlarged copy of the cover of National Geographic Magazine’s January edition featuring a projection of George Floyd’s face
on the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Richmond. The Monument Avenue statue became a rallying point for protesters against police brutality and racial injustice following Mr. Floyd’s death in May
at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. Images representing the struggle for civil rights and equality in the United States were projected onto the monument by Richmond artists Dustin Klein and Alex Criqui and photographed by Kris Graves for the cover. The youngster was attending a news conference last Friday with her grandmother at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, where Gov. Ralph S. Northam proposed $11 million in state funds be used to transform Monument Avenue.
Call it protest art Christmas-style. This new artwork now stands at the base the Robert E. Lee statue on Monument Avenue. The Black figure tops a fir tree, a traditional Christmas symbol, and adds a holiday dimension to the protest slogans and colorful artwork that have transformed the pedestal that holds the Confederate statue that the state is still battling in court to take down. The pedestal, which gained its new look during the late spring and summer protests over racial injustice and police brutality, has become a significant attraction for residents and visitors. The pedestal’s changed appearance also has garnered national attention, with the New York Times naming it No. 1 on its list of protest art and National Geographic featuring it on the cover of its special issue, “2020: The year in Pictures.”
Dam in Bryan Park
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts celebrated the first anniversary of the unveiling of the equestrian statue “Rumors of War” by artist Kehinde Wiley with a collection of visual animations and digital collages projected onto the museum building on Arthur Ashe Boulevard. The visual anniversary projections, which ran nightly from Dec. 10 through Dec. 12, were done for the VMFA by Dustin Klein and Alex Criqui, Richmond artists who have gained national attention for their projections onto the Robert E. Lee statue on Monument Avenue. It also included audio recordings of Mr. Wiley and his remarks from 2019, when the statue was dedicated. The 27-foot tall statue, located outside the museum, features a young African-American man with dreadlocks, jeans and high-top sneakers sitting regally on horseback. The artist said his work was a direct response to the Confederate statues that lined Monument Avenue.
Like people, furry friends need annual checkups to make sure they are healthy, too. On Dec. 5, two nonprofit organizations, Salem’s Light and the Street Dog Coalition, offered a free veterinary clinic for pets at Forest Hill Park. The clinic drew all types and sizes of pets. Shakirah Abdal, listens as veterinarian Dr. Justin Jones details his findings after examining her 12-year-old pit bull terrier, Bella, who was being held by veterinary assistant Rachel Ring. Bella’s follow-up appointment for X-rays and dental care at Dr. Jones’ office will be covered by Salem’s Light, an outreach, education, advocacy and spay and neuter organization.
Veterinary assistant Hannah Heretick holds Jerome-the-Cat, who received a checkup and immunizations during the clinic while his foster mother, Dee Thomas, background, watches. Ms. Thomas said the cat showed up at her home two days before Thanksgiving. Her family, which has been caring for the cat since then, wanted him to have a well- ness check before being turned over to his new family.
Keon Booker’s chihuahua, also named Bella, clings to him after her checkup.