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Memphis latest stop in gun violence awareness mural tour

Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 4:29 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The rise in gun violence in Memphis this year has attracted many eyes across the U.S.

The most recent example of this is a mural from an internationally recognized artist, Kyle Holbrook.

“Gun violence has been continuing on and on, and now the victims are getting younger and younger,” Holbrook said. “I just recently lost a kid I’ve been mentoring. He was my mentor’s grandson.”

It was that loss, Holbrook said, that inspired a nationwide tour, where in at least one city in each state he paints a mural titled “Peace. Stop Gun Violence!”

Holbrook is an artist with Moving Lives of Kids, MLK for short, and has painted more than 500 murals across the world.

For Memphis, this was stop number 40 for Holbrook’s nationwide tour, and while the design is simple in nature, the peace sign is a message everyone can understand.

“I wanted to really emphasize the hand as an essential element in this tour because it’s the hand that is perpetuating this violence through the use of a gun,” Holbrook said.

In the future, he wants to continue working with the local arts community to help be the change one mural at a time.

The peace sign creatively uses the color orange, the official color for the gun violence prevention movement.

Holbrook, who has lost many in his personal circle to gun violence, said in his experience a mural like this can provide a place where victims of gun violence can find comfort that their loved ones lost will not be forgotten.

“Public art can be utilized in several different ways,” Holbrook said. “Certainly an issue such as gun violence that’ so dear to my heart, we wanted to utilize it to play our part to help with some of the solutions in awareness.”

Holbrook has family in Memphis and, because of that personal connection, told us this mural won’t be the last of his work we see in the city.

In the future, he want to continue working with the local arts community to help be the change one mural at a time.

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