AUSTIN (KXAN) — Those driving along Interstate 35 may notice a new piece of art adorned atop the Native Hostel in east Austin.
Artist Rex Hamilton is installing a flag bearing his designed print Monday morning. It’s titled “Black Light” and features a Black woman with flowers in her hair. She is raising a fist with a peace symbol on her wrist. He described more of the meaning in an Instagram post:
“It’s important to have depictions of Black people in power, or being powerful, taking up space, being beautiful or vivid. We gotta have positive representations of ourselves. We need to see it,” Hamilton said.
Facebook commissioned Hamilton, along with nine other local artists, to design messages of hope, love, empathy and inspiration in response to both the COVID-19 pandemic and racial justice movement. All ten will be featured together.
“It means a lot. It’s awesome … it’s a beautiful thing when you can be included amongst other great artists, especially in your city. I was born and raised in Austin. So to be given a platform for my voice, especially during a time like this, it’s very important. It feels amazing. I’m very happy … to put my point of view in a creative way out to the world and have it waving at Austin every day,” Hamilton said.
The social media giant’s Artists in Residence program collaborated with Austin-based nonprofit H.O.P.E. (Helping Other People Everywhere) for the project. HOPE’s mission is connecting creatives with causes to raise awareness on local and global issues.
“With what’s going on in the world right now, the reputation of Black people is very rocky. And what I wanted to do is show the divinity of Black people. I feel like a lot of times whenever we are shown, in specific circumstances we’re shown well, but in most circumstances, we’re kind of in a negative light. So I wanted to shine a positive light on that,” Hamilton said.
The Native Hostel is located at 807 E. 4th St. — the same site which showcases a mural for George Floyd, Mike Ramos and others.
The series will later be installed in Facebook Austin’s offices as the 10th anniversary celebration of the tech company’s presence in the city.