Jason Howerton, Independent Journal Review, December 29, 2016
A piece of art depicting police officers as pigs with guns terrorizing a black neighborhood is currently displayed proudly inside our nation’s Capitol.
The untitled artwork, which supposedly symbolizes the unrest that followed the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, was selected as part of the annual Congressional Art Competition. It currently hangs in a tunnel between the U.S. Capitol building and Longworth House Office Building.
The St. Louis American describes what’s seen in the painting:
His winning work is an acrylic painting featuring a downtown street scene with the Gateway Arch displayed in the background and three police officers with animal heads, two with guns in hand, and a large group of marchers moving toward the police.
The lead marcher carries a sign that says the word “history.” Pulphus’ painting includes several signs, one of which says “Racism Kills,” and another “Stop Killing.” On the right you can see a man being crucified wearing a graduation cap holding the scales of justice in his hands.
The painting is an interpretation of the months of unrest that took place in the region in response to the fatal shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown Jr. by then-Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson on August 9, 2014.
The painting was selected on behalf of Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO). While it’s unclear whether Clay personally selected “Untitled #1” as the winner, he offered heavy praise for the controversial painting in a press release:
In his remarks to the overflow crowd of young artists, parents and teachers who gathered at Webster University’s new downtown St. Louis campus in the historic Arcade Building, Congressman Clay said, “Tonight, we are celebrating our sixteenth year of recognizing outstanding young artistic talent. As you can see from the artwork on display here, the level of talent is truly impressive. Your work is inspiring, and I encourage all of you to continue to develop your creative abilities.”
Clay also reportedly called the piece of art the “most creative expression that I’ve witnessed over the last 16 years” during remarks on the House floor.