As the campus begins returning to fully in-person operations once again, students will notice a powerful new message drawing their attention upwards as they pass the Harter Classroom Building Complex.
Printed on a 15-by-25-foot outdoor canvas is the work of Dexter Emery, a sophomore majoring in art. His unnamed piece won a $5k Initiative grant, which funds student-generated campus enhancement projects. Last fall, CSUN challenged student artists to design a mural around the topic of Black Lives Matter as a way to highlight campus diversity and provide support for the movement.
“I did work for this piece to achieve the goal and feelings of strength in unity,” said Emery, who grew up in Las Vegas.
His design features four people wearing masks and holding their fists above their heads. The BLM letters behind them are formed with the names of Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and many others whose deaths led to Black Lives Matter protests in the past couple of years.
“I also included Asian, Black, and white ethnicities,” Emery noted. “I chose to include transgender into the conversation as well. I wanted every part of humanity within our campus to be displayed into this piece for the school.”
CSUN collaborated with the art department and the planning and construction office to select Emery’s design, awarding him a $1,000 stipend for his art. It also covered the costs of printing and hanging the banner prominently on campus. CSUN expects to change the banners every year or two to reflect on different aspects of UNLV’s campus community.
Another recent $5k Initiative project has already put up a shade structure with seating along the walkway near Hospitality Hall.
Emery has also had his work selected for the Donna Beam Gallery’s online gallery. His drawing, Scribble of Philani Dladla, calls for education reform as it features a formerly homeless South African man who sold books on the streets after he had read them himself.