Gugu Mbatha-Raw to auction portraits of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor in aid of Black Lives Matter

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Los Angeles, Jun 20 (PTI) Actor Gugu Mbatha-Raw is auctioning her portraits of African American victims of police brutality -- George Floyd and Breonna Taylor -- to raise funds for charities that support social justice.

Floyd, died in police custody last month, while Taylor, an ER technician, was fatally shot by police officers in March.

The auction will be live from June 20 to 29.

It will benefit several organisations including Equal Justice Initiative, M4BL, The Bail Project and Black Lives Matter.

“Hearing the news of George Floyd’s death hit me in such a deep way – the brutality and intimacy of seeing him take his last breath live on camera. I just sat down and started painting -- thought it would be a way to honour him, and for me to focus on emotions at a time when I didn’t have the words. Creating something after all that destruction of life felt like a way of processing it,” Mbatha-Raw told Harper’s Bazaar.

The BAFTA-nominated actor made portrait of Taylor to mark what would have been her 27th birthday in June.

Floyd’s death sparked nationwide protest against systemic racism and police brutality and during one such protest in Hollywood, Mbatha-Raw carried Taylor’s portrait as a banner.

Instagram-based enterprise Still We Rise, which is hosting a series of charitable sales to raise money for causes that champion equality and challenge violence, will be conducting the auction.

“I’m proud to be joining the Still We Rise community for this venture – it’s a great way of using Instagram to raise awareness. As an artist, you have to pivot and express yourself; painting has been an amazing outlet, and I’m hoping now it’ll support these brilliant organisations too,” she said. PTI SHD RB RB