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Artist celebrates Black icons and families

STORY: Location: New York

This artist is celebrating the strength of Black icons and families

Guy Stanley Philoche's latest series is called ‘Give Us Our Flowers’

[Guy Stanley Philoche, Artist]

“I have a lot of my white collectors who will come and be like, 'What does that mean, give us our flowers? Like, the flowers are beautiful, but what does that mean? Give us our flowers?' It's just to give us our acknowledgment, you know, give us our acknowledgment for all our achievements we've done.”

The idea for the series came after a long-time friend unexpectedly passed away

“I just kept sketching and painting his portrait over and over again. But for me it just started to, like - it made me feel good and made me remember a lot of things. And in the last portrait - the last sketch I was doing, I was like, 'Let me give him his flowers.' And I just did little flowers and then after I looked at it, I was just like, 'Whoa, OK, I think I have something here.'”

He soon realized there were more people to 'give flowers'

The series also features Muhammad Ali, Nina Simone, and Tyre Nichols

“I have a piece that I did of Nina Simone. You know, every time I’m in the studio I'm listening to her, you know, so I have a beautiful painting of her. I also have a piece of, you know, the Mr. Baldwin over there. I love listening to him, I think what he - he was ahead of his time, you know? And also to, you know, Misty over here, like, she's just an amazing ballerina. And, you know, being one of the first Black principal ballerinas and, you know, is amazing. This is a piece here - representing my culture, you know, hip-hop, 50 years of hip-hop, you know. Which is, which is really fun painting because when I was painting this I was just playing old school hip-hop. You know, which just reminds me of when I was that kid again.”

“The response has been really overwhelming because a lot of people were, like, 'Hey, I want my portrait here as well' and everything like that. I was like, 'all right, cool.' So, for me, it's just about finding really interesting subject matters and people that I want to give the flowers to. You know, a lot of people have done a lot of amazing things in their field and are not necessarily getting the recognition that they deserve.”