Columbus illustrator unveils new work for Juneteenth

Davian Chester, a graphic artist and teacher unveils 2020 Juneteenth ilustration. HANDOUT

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Davian Chester, a graphic artist and teacher unveils 2020 Juneteenth ilustration. HANDOUT

Remember Davian Chester?

He’s the Columbus graphic artist and teacher whose illustration commemorating Juneteenth went viral last year.

Chester decided to do the illustration when he didn’t see a Google Doodle online.

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Davian Chester, a Columbus graphic artist and teacher, illustration commemorating Juneteenth went viral last year.

Credit: Davian Chester

Davian Chester, a Columbus graphic artist and teacher, illustration commemorating Juneteenth went viral last year.

Credit: Davian Chester

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Davian Chester, a Columbus graphic artist and teacher, illustration commemorating Juneteenth went viral last year.

Credit: Davian Chester

Credit: Davian Chester

He didn’t wait to see what Google did this year.

Two weeks ago, he started designing a digital illustration in honor of the  observance, which dates back to June 19, 1865, when Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, with news that enslaved people were free — more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued.

It marks the end of slavery.

Google also started the day with a Juneteenth video Doodle, with audio, in observance of the 155th anniversary of the holiday. The audio is of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” created Los Angeles artist Loveis Wise and narrated by activist and actor LeVar Burton with music by producer Elijah Jamal.

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Google started the day with a Juneteenth illustration with audio.

Credit: Google

Google started the day with a Juneteenth illustration with audio.

Credit: Google

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Google started the day with a Juneteenth illustration with audio.

Credit: Google

Credit: Google

RelatedWhy Juneteenth will take on greater meaning this year

This Juneteenth, Chester released his latest effort, a colorful digital illustration, showing what he views as similarities in 1865 and 2020.

“It’s supposed to be Freedom Day, technically,” said Chester. “But with everything that’s going on it doesn’t feel like it anymore. I knew I would be going deeper and this is a sadder piece.”

On one side it shows people who were enslaved running from away from slave holders with the date 1865. On the other side of the illustration there are young African-Americans holding protest signs, including one that says, “Stop Killing Us,” and running away from the police.

MoreJuneteenth events around the metro

One police officer is kneeling with his gun pointed at the fleeing protesters. The date is 2020.

Chester said he was haunted by the recent deaths of African Americans at the hands of police or white vigilantes.

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<p> Columbus digital artist Davian Chester poses for a portrait outside of his home in Columbus, Georgia on July 1, 2019, with a Google Doodle he made for Juneteenth. Now, he might have a job with the tech giant. (Nick Wooten/Ledger-Enquirer via AP) </p>

Credit: Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

<p>               Columbus digital artist Davian Chester poses for a portrait outside of his home in Columbus, Georgia on July 1, 2019, with a Google Doodle he made for Juneteenth. Now, he might have a job with the tech giant. (Nick Wooten/Ledger-Enquirer via AP)             </p>

Credit: Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

caption arrowCaption
<p> Columbus digital artist Davian Chester poses for a portrait outside of his home in Columbus, Georgia on July 1, 2019, with a Google Doodle he made for Juneteenth. Now, he might have a job with the tech giant. (Nick Wooten/Ledger-Enquirer via AP) </p>

Credit: Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Credit: Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The illustration last year showed two hands breaking shackles that spelled out Google.

In his eyes, attitudes have not changed “and it breaks my heart.”

The breaking point was the videotaped death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. One police officer kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.

RelatedTulsa massacre: White mobs reduce black community to rubble

It took Chester two weeks to design the digital illustration.

“Some people say it’s getting worse,” said Chester. “Some people say it’s not getting worse, it’s just being videotaped.”

Chester said he has been racially profiled before.

He’s gone in stores and had employees follow him around or, he said, look at him like he doesn’t belong there.

He plans to post the illustration on social media in honor of Juneteenth.

He said he’s considering selling the print, although no decision has been made.

In related news: Google Arts & Culture and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History are debuting a new exhibit on the historical legacy of Juneteenth.

Also, YouTube Music is launching a new programmed playlist titled, “Juneteenth: Freedom Songs,” highlighting songs of protest liberation, and celebration from Black artists including Beyonce, Bob Marley, and Prince.

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