Skip to Content

George Floyd mural goes up in downtown Palm Springs

In honor of George Floyd's death, an artist known as 'Mr. Alek' has painted a mural of Floyd at 311 North Indian Canyon Drive near Amado Road.

The artist was on site on Wednesday, as he put on some of the final touches.

“We’re doing a tribute for police brutality of George Floyd," Mr. Alek said.

The words: "I can't breathe" are written in bold white letters alongside Floyd's face.

Many people stopped to take pictures. Several cars driving down Indian Canyon Drive honked their horns.

Mr. Alek was reluctant to go on camera.

"I’d rather let my art speak for itself."

The artwork was painted in the wake of George Floyd's death, at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. The incident sparked protests, and nationwide calls for an end to police brutality. For Mr. Alek, the mural's message was also personal.

"Growing up, I got harassed by police. Just for being what they assume was a Mexican kid walking around L.A. I’m not even Mexican. I’m from South America, but I still got Latino heritage. I just feel like police take advantage."

Mr. Alek hoped the mural would resonate with people from all walks of life.

"I feel like it’s just more for the people that can’t really be out there, can’t really be protesting," Mr. Alek said. "Sometimes people don’t feel comfortable in that environment or maybe they physically can’t but they still support the cause. This is something for people to come and be right here-- maybe older people, they don’t want to be around young people causing riots. This is like their way of contributing. They come here, take a picture next to it. They can talk around it."

There were also several people that happened to be walking by, and stopped to take it all in.

"It’s about time. Obviously the George Floyd murder-- you can’t put words to it. It’s time that people in our country put an end to racism and bigotry. Unfortunately the city of Palm Springs has a history of racism and bigotry toward the African American community. The only way to make a change is to peacefully demonstrate and affect our lawmakers," Coachella Art Executive Director, Patrick Sheehan said.

Sheehan also paints murals, but with children.

"Now is the time. We talk a lot about it but we don’t have a lot of action. I think now it’s different," Sheehan said.

Desert Hot Springs resident, Brad Speight, works nearby. He stopped to take pictures. He believed the mural is an outstanding effort by the artist, but there's one thing he would have preferred over the words, "I can't breathe."

"If it would have said a message for us like 'unity' or 'justice' or 'equality' I think that would have been more grasping for others to receive. Then they could relate. I think certain messages, people root it to mean 'isolate,'" Speight said.

Speight said it's all about action.

"I think if we take action and show them that we’re trying to bridge this gap in the division that we all have-- it’s a reality-- I think it will work."

Despite the division plaguing the nation, Mr. Alek said he wants his art to spark dialogue and positivity.

"I hope you guys enjoy it. This is for you guys, for the ones that like it, for the ones that don’t. It-- maybe change your heart. Maybe you can talk about it with the people that do like it. There’s no reason to instigate any negative energy towards it. It’s completely meant to give a positive outlook into what’s going on right now," Mr. Alek said.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Shelby Nelson


News Channel 3 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content