The protests called for an end to systemic racism and for defunding the Montreal police — rallying cries met with skepticism by Quebec's premier, François Legault, who claimed there is "no systemic discrimination" in the province.
Now, 29-year-old Timothée de Sandro, an artist from Quebec City, is paying homage to the late Floyd, whose face has become an emblem for racial injustice around the world.
De Sandro sculpted an 11-foot statue in Floyd's likeness on the front lawn of his family home, located on Avenue Esioff-Patenaude in a neighbourhood called Sillery. In true Quebec fashion, it's made from winter snow.
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De Sandro told MTL Blog his creation took about 60 hours to complete, between making a model out of clay and the final sculpture out of snow.Timothée de Sandro
De Sandro said he thought using Floyd as a symbol would speak to the public more poignantly than other contemporary or historical figures.
"I selected George Floyd as a symbol because I thought it was the best bet to draw attention and pay homage to all the victims of systemic racial discrimination," he said.Timothée de Sandro
De Sandro also said he made the statue to help people recognize Floyd's face as a reminder of the much-needed change he represents.
"It’s high time to listen to Black voices," he said.Timothée de Sandro
"[Floyd's] face now haunting our collective conscience, to me, has to be the most famous obituary [photo] in my lifetime."
But de Sandro also shared his concerns around choosing only one face to represent such a widespread issue.
"I was asked why [I] didn't or if I could also make Breonna Taylor or Joyce Echaquan," he said.
"I agree each is as deserving of their own. But the weather is fickle and limiting, so I decided to go with the most iconic figure to me. By honouring George Floyd, I also — a little naively — wanted to tackle the controversy of those wanting to smear his memory.”*Derek Robbins | Dreamstime
The George Floyd snow sculpture has taken "a pretty big hit" in recent days, de Sandro said, due to volatile weather conditions, including rain.
It is still standing but certain details appear to be blurred. De Sandro said he'll try to fix it in the next week or two, but "it really depends on the weather."
*This article has been updated.