Travis Hall recalls the horror he felt watching the video of George Floyd’s last breath, which prompted the Lloydminster man to share a message in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
His medium was spray paint and the canvas was his own fence. A large grey fist outlined in black accompanied “#BLM” in bold lettering.
“While I was painting this up, I had a couple of older women yelling at me not to do it,” he said in an interview.
He directed the onlookers to the sign he plastered on the fence he built after moving in four or five months ago. The sign encourages people to use the fence “as a creative outlet.”
“If you want to show your support on current events, peacefully protest or showcase your talents, you are free to do so,” the sign read.
Hall hopes people use the fence to engage in a productive dialogue about social issues. He said he’s tired of racism against Black people, Indigenous people and new Canadians.
“It’s disgusting,” he said.
He feels the issue isn’t getting enough attention in Lloydminster.
“The people that don’t agree, they start to speak up, and you start to see that ugly evil that is racism and it’s all over our community,” Hall said.
Reaction to the graffiti has been both positive and negative, including on a highly circulated post he made on Reddit, Hall said.
As a staunch believer in the freedom of speech, he welcomes any respectful dialogue expressed on the fence.
“It’s very family-friendly around here and I don’t want anything to be vulgar or offensive or anything like that,” Hall said.
Concerned he may have gone against Lloydminster’s bylaws, he contacted Lloydminster’s mayor, Gerald Aalbers.
The mayor wasn’t available for an interview with Global News, but city spokesperson Eric Healey said in a statement that “the City of Lloydminster appreciates Mr. Hall creating an opportunity for our residents to express their beliefs peacefully and creatively.”
Residents are allowed to display “tasteful artwork” at their property, Healey said.
“We simply ask that those taking part in this installation do so in a way that is considerate to the adjacent properties and youth who may be viewing the message.”
Hall welcomes anyone interested to come share their perspective by painting on the fence along his property at 5502 35th Street in Lloydminster.