b. Sacramento, CA, 1993
d. Memphis, TN, January 10, 2023
N. Gene Autry Trail, Between Via Escuela and the I-10
Born and raised in Sacramento California, Tyre Nichols’ photographs of landscapes, sunsets, monuments and the architectural vernaculars of his adopted town of Memphis, Tennessee are the unassuming documents of a young man whose eye was drawn to the moments of beauty and evanescence that shape the rituals of daily life. “My vision is to bring my viewers deep into what I am seeing through my eye and out through my lens,” he wrote. “I hope to one day let people see what I see and to hopefully admire my work based on the quality and ideals of my work.”
This work, now celebrated as part of Desert X, represents not just a vision that was brutally denied the opportunity to develop but the potential of all those individuals whose lives have been lost to the state sanctioned violence of institutional racism. Sited on billboards along Gene Autry Trail, Nichols’ work is also a reminder that so many of these needless deaths take place at the side of the road. Here the silent beauty of these levitated images stands in stark contrast with the terror experienced by Nichols and so many others on the shoulder below. But as with the vision the message is also one of hope: hope that with restrictions on pretextual stops California can lead the way in police reform; hope that together we can create a just society in which the fragile and beautiful talents of the likes of Tyre Nichols can flourish and grow.
Support the Tyre Nichols Memorial Fund here.
This work has generously been supported by the City of Palm Springs Public Arts Commission.