You would like Elijah. Not only is he a good kid—he’s a phenomenal artist.
Elijah lost his cousin, grandfather, and several friends to gun violence. Understandably, it’s been a long recovery process. Art is his healing therapy.
“Painting is a relief for me,” he says. “It helps me find a better place to rest my mind. Instead of keeping all the negative energy in me, I put it all on canvas.”
Elijah clearly has a bright future as a painter, but his primary passion is activism. He’s quiet—but he has so much to say. His paintbrush is his voice.
“I paint to stand up for what’s right. When you look at my art, you see life.”
A diligent saver, Elijah recently moved into his new apartment. It’s large enough to accommodate his disabled mother and sister, with enough room to spare for his artwork.
His newest painting is a portrait of Trayvon Martin. In his hand is a bag of Skittles (found in Trayvon’s pocket after his death). Only the letters “les” are visible, which is Spanish for “them.” The small, colorful bag has a powerful impact—symbolic not only of his youthful innocence, but also of the larger community and movement he represents.
“There’s more there… under the surface.” Just like with our youth. Just like with Elijah.
A beautiful profile of Elijah was compiled into a short film . Thanks to our friends at Fat Happy Media for their hard work & dedication on this project.