as Pride month approaches, so does the anniversary of the massacre at Pulse Nightclub, 12 June 2016. i wanted to create a piece as a tribute to the lives lost, the survivors, their families and friends.

i hope for safer celebrations to come as we move forward, organize and remember those that came before us.

i chose flamingos partially for their association with the region, their flamboyant display, but more so for the origins of their name and early beliefs to their connection to the mythology of the fiery phoenix rising from ashes.

the central figure silhouette in flight against a setting sun offers the embodiment of hope, renewal, and continuation of life. the surrounding flock of 49 flamingos represent the number murdered that night.

for the ocean and sky — in a slight 80s stylization — the color bars simply show the tropical summer heat refracting light. the number of bars more subtly reference the day (sky) and month (sea) separated at the horizon.

beyond an act of remembrance, the symbol of the phoenix resonates as a powerful metaphor for the resilience of the queer community. we have faced countless crimes, and continual waves of social persecution, yet we rise again and again to fight for justice and freedom to live safely.

phoenix rising is equally a symbol of defiance to adversity & injustice, and a vibrant declaration to the celebration of life & living.

be safe!

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