A collective of artists, brought together in an initiative for Black History Month in February, have created a movement that is bringing awareness to a dangerous problem in the US – unconscious bias.
The #NoMoreBlackTargets project came about as a partnership between the New York Society for Ethical Culture and agency Fred & Farid, and the results are now gaining momentum. A video by Fred & Farid chronicling the project and a website encouraging people to sign a petition to get the “human black target” removed from shooting ranges – and asking more artists to create their own target art – are bringing more attention to the issue.
No More Black Targets is an artistic project to raise awareness of the danger of unconscious bias and how it may be perpetuating gun violence against young black males. To make a bluntly beautiful point, the artists painted over the ‘human black silhouette’, the most popular target for shooters to learn their firearm skills, with artistic interpretations that turn the menacing black targets into beautiful, colorful, and optimistic art.
The artists are diverse in backgrounds, ethnicities and nationalities, working in paint, digital media, pattern making and also physical installation to bring new artwork to life. The collective stand is for “More paint. Less hate."
According to a release on the initiative, young black men are three times more likely to be shot by trained shooters than their white peers, and a correlation has been made that the most popular target for shooters to learn to use their firearm is a black silhouette.
This correlation was reinforced by an academic study featured by NPR, and published by Yara Mekawi and Konrad Bresin of the University of Illinois, who studied trigger bias to examine whether race affects how likely a target is to be shot. This art project seeks to eliminate the use of the most popular target for shooters to learn to use their firearm: a menacing black silhouette.
The artwork has been displayed at several venues and galleries in New York City. And as the initiative gains momentum, interested artists, activists and collaborators can contribute their own target art through a simple template, sign the petition, and see a gallery of artwork contributed from around the globe on the No More Black Targets website.
Media development company 3rd Culture Creative is helping to add more artists to the roster of contributors.