Anika Leung is giving back in the best way she knows how.
The Ottawa artist painted portraits of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd and auctioned them off in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Giving back through my art and helping to raise money with my paintings was one way that I was hoping to spread awareness,” says Leung.
“It’s nice to see a lot of different people take initiative to basically contribute to the Black Lives Matter movement in their own way,” says Leon Powell, winning bidder on the painting of Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed Black man who was shot while jogging in Georgia.
“I run a lot so I think it’s something that could very much happen to me, it’s definitely possible,” says Powell. “So I think that’s the main reason why I just resonated more with Ahmaud’s story.”
Both the Breonna Taylor and George Floyd paintings went to Oz Shan, who says he wants to do whatever he can to contribute to the cause.
“The people who need help right now are the Black community. So it’s not about my experience with racism, it’s about how they’re still being oppressed and being killed needlessly,” says Shan.
Buyers will have the option to donate 100 per cent of the funds to the charity of their choice.
“If they choose not to pick one, the money is going to go towards the fundraiser of all the respective individuals,” says Leung.
“It seems like it has taken a long time for this to even get enough traction that people are finally doing something about it,” says Shan. “It’s been going on for decades and hundreds of years, but I guess better late than never.”
In total, the three paintings raised more than $750.