Loring Cornish’s latest work features a collection of baby dolls, painted black, hanging from a tree nestled between a sidewalk and a residential street.
It’s a display that some have described as “disturbing,” “shocking” and “inappropriate” on social media.
But so are the countless deaths of unarmed Black citizens that the dolls on the tree are meant to represent.
“I am in mourning for all of the Black men that are dying needlessly, and the United States of America is doing nothing about it,” Cornish told NBC affiliate WBAL. “And it seems like we can do nothing about police brutality.”
The display comes after the cringe-worthy deaths of Walter Scott and Eric Harris were captured on video.
Scott and Harris marked the most recent killings following a string of unarmed Black citizens being killed by police including Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice, John Crawford III and many more.
With such tragedies impacting so many families all across the U.S., Cornish believed he needed to make a powerful statement as an artist.
“I wanted to make a statement,” he said. “I wanted to show people exactly what’s going on with a figure of something that I’ve been feeling. It’s pretty much death. We’re being killed like innocent babies. Who should get shot eight times?”
Along with the vast collection of Black dolls hanging from the tree, signs are plastered outside his studio.
“Am I next,” one of the signs questions.
Another urges America to “stop killing Black men.”
“We’re feeling this,” Cornish added. “This is not something we should just gloss over. We’re actually feeling death in our community. We are being lynched, killed and murdered legally in the United States.”
The exhibit’s proximity to a local school has troubled some residents but others feel as if the bold exhibit is exactly what the community needs—an impossible to ignore symbol of the mass murders of unarmed Black citizens.
“I think everybody should wake up to it, because that’s what’s happening,” a local resident, Jonathan Esters, told WBAL. “It’s happening everywhere, but the thing about it is that it’s been going on. It’s just now coming to TV.”
The public display has caused quite the stir but so far there are no plans for Cornish to take the dolls down.