In the name of Reefa

British graffiti artist Banksy pops up at the G&G booth at Preview Berlin through his art, sending a message regarding murdered street artist Reefa in Miami.

Image for In the name of Reefa
Camille Moreno

Gallery G&G is situated in Wynwood, the artist hotbed of Miami. It’s the kind of place where warehouses are unofficial showrooms, street artists run amok, and new Britto murals get tactfully tagged over within a day. Packed with art spaces and fighting the gentrification of its Puerto-Rican roots, Wynwood is one of the most active street art districts in the world. General Miami protocol does not apply here, and no one is interested in those cookie-cutter, feel-good pictures or mass-produced editions sold in art boutiques in South Beach.

It was only a month ago in South Beach that local 18-year-old Miami graffiti artist Israel Hernandez, aka Reefa, was caught in the act by police while spraying the “R” in his name.  Hernandez fled and was followed on foot by the police officers, who put a taser to his chest that killed him. The officers proceeded to high-five one another for a job well done and have faced no disciplinary action.

The cavalier attitude of the officers as well as the seemingly unnecessary escalation to tase Hernandez has sparked protest in Miami and the art world. Scores of artists around the globe have since shared countless tributes to Reefa, internationally famed street artist Banksy among them.

Banksy has delivered a message with the two pieces on view with G&G at Preview. He wishes that anyone who is attending Miami’s annual art fair Art Basel in December take a stand in the name of Reefa. Banksy asks that during the fair’s festivities all patrons and gallerists boycott South Beach by not shopping, eating, or staying there. The boycott calls for policy reform and ethical taser training on the part of the Miami-Dade Police Department.