Streaming Event: Justice for Our Lives

Justice for Our Lives by Oakland-based artist and activist Oree Originol is an online and public social justice artwork that consists of 100 portraits of people killed during altercations with law enforcement. Using original photographs, often based on images of the victim provided by their families, Originol creates black-and-white digital portraits that are each available for download for community members to use and memorialize the lives of these individuals. 

This online edition of Justice for Our Lives is streaming continuously on SAAM’s website beginning Tuesday, May 25, 2021, through Thursday, May 27, 2021, at 7 p.m. ET  to mark the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death. A large-scale, site-specific installation of Justice for Our Lives appears at the entrance to SAAM’s landmark exhibition ¡Printing the Revolution! The Rise and Impact of Chicano Graphics, 1965 to Now, on view through August 8, 2021.

Justice for Our Lives was inspired by community-based memorial events. In 2014, amid the Black Lives Matter movement, Originol witnessed a vigil in remembrance of Oscar Grant, a young man killed by a BART police officer in Oakland, California in 2009. Five years after his death, community members continued to gather for an annual vigil remembering his life. Originol’s Justice for Our Lives grew from there, as the artist created 100 portraits of other individuals killed by law enforcement, some well-known, and some local figures that never received national attention. 

Justice for Our Lives is part of a long history of art that unites portraiture and memorialization. Throughout time, artists, individuals, and communities have used portraits to memorialize and remember the deceased and to give solace and voice to the living.  

Artist statement:

"Justice for Our Lives is a digital portrait series of 100 people who were killed during altercations with law enforcement. With the support of many of the impacted families, this project memorializes their loved ones. These portraits are available for free download at allowing anyone to share these stories."

Additional Resources

Watch the Time Lapse Installation

Talking About Race

Talking about race, though hard, is necessary. Our colleagues at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture have created an online resource that provides tools and guidance to empower your journey and inspire conversation.