An elderly art collector, her hair dyed and twisted into a J.M.W. Turner seascape, lowered her cell phone from her ear long enough to listen to the protestors gathered at the entryway to the Art Basel Miami Beach fair.
Subhash Kateel inside the Miami Beach Convention Center
"What is a Reefa?"
Her companion, an aubergine-suited man with glossy skin, shrugged.
Four months after the promising 18-year-old street artist Israel "Reefa" Hernandez died after being tasered by Miami Beach police officer Jorge Mercado, friends and family in the Justice for Reefa Coalition used last week's series of art fairs to raise awareness for what they believe to be an unjustified killing. The group has been joined by the Dream Defenders, the same group that occupied the Florida state capital building for 31 days following the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
Though the alliance staged actions every day of the fairs, their main events were a protest outside the Miami Beach Convention Center on Friday night, a flash mob-style gathering inside the building at the main entrance of the fair during a high-traffic period, and a weekend spent petitioning and talking to graffiti-receptive out-of-towners in Wynwood.More »