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Love At The End: Collaborative Artwork Brings Black Lives Matter Montauk Movement Forward

The group commissioned exclusive collaborative artwork by Frank Frances Studio and NFL art director Kerry Paul. (Courtesy Photo)

The voice of many begins with one, and the recent police brutality surrounding the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement deeply affected one 29-year-old, Tanish Lindsay. Lindsay is an immigrant who both lives and works in Montauk, and took a post at the Montauk Village Green with her BLM sign and quietly displayed her protest alone for many days in the hope that her mission would unite both locals and tourists around the BLM movement.

Montauk is a close community of year-round residents, and seasonal tourists, and Tanish was eventually joined by others to continue her protest under the new all-female initiative named Love at The End, which organized a "march down Main Street on July 6th to demand justice for the victims of police brutality and to spotlight systemic racism on the East End." Hundreds of local resident protesters, plus celebrities including Julianne Moore, Naomi Watts, Cynthia Rowley, Christy Turlington and Sienna Miller, took to Montauk's Main Street for the march and rally with local speakers.

Lindsay explained, "I was surprised and heartened to see the protest grow as fast as it did. It wasn't just the size of the protest but also the broad base of support that the protest on the East End received. There have been people from all backgrounds out there, including many who have never protested anything before. Thousands have come out to protest in our relatively small communities. It's been extraordinary to see and a light of hope in these dark times."

"Love at The End is a force to be reckoned with," according to Lindsay who offered, "working with my teammate and co-founder of Love at The End, Rachelle MacPherson, has been amazing. She has so much knowledge and drive that she puts into everything we do. When I think of the word 'badass' I think of her. Love at The End is here to stay and will stay involved until these issues of brutality and systemic discrimination are properly addressed. We work every day to make that day come as fast as possible."

Elaborating on their mission to visually bring the movement to life, including an artistic bent allowing creativity and design to emerge, the group commissioned exclusive collaborative artwork by well-known commercial photographer, Frank Frances. Frances collaborated with NFL art director Kerry Paul, to design a BLM logo to accompany the artwork, resulting in "Hunted," which is part of a sub- series of paper cuts included in Frances' first monograph called "Remember The South" (Monolith Editions) . "The artwork explores the frustrations of the nuance variabilities of racism as well as their historical and current implications with a combination of photography and paper cut collages." Frances lent the piece to Love at The End so that demonstrators and Montauk community members could express their sadness, hope and most importantly, solidarity with BLM.

"Kerry is a good friend who works for the NFL and we've been speaking about the response they had to Colin Kaepernick kneeling for years now. We both agreed that we must continue sharing Black creativity, success, and vulnerability to hope as a form of protest," Frances explained.

Frances and his son made "Hunted" while he attempted to explain his sadness and express why there is so much beauty surrounding hope. He reveals, "Using each element to speak to Marley about racism and a privilege in consciousness, the paper in many ways helps deliver the most constructive thoughts about traumatic hope."

Continuing, Frances advised, "I created the image that is used for Love at The End with my son, Marley, after the Ahmaud Arbery shooting, as a way for me to explain my personal sadness, racism, and the differences in white versus Black lived experiences. The image is full of hope, honor, and a dedication to keep trying to live as an example for my son to witness closely Black success. BLM is a movement that has made me consider what memories I will leave behind because it's possible to be killed at any moment as a Black person. There is a fragility in life but a strength in my joy/hope that will infect other people from my creative practice. The future is bright for people of color, and this movement has created a very deep reservoir of concepts to work through."

Frances continued, "My background is in fine art and I approach all work with connecting it all to my personal life experiences. As an image creator who is Black there is a responsibility I have to encourage a younger generation as a leader. Love at The End as a movement will impact young people of color in the region by helping them feel more included. I'm from South Carolina and I've had so many racial encounters that left me frustrated but more hopeful that I can persist with Black joy/excellence as a form to counter those challenges. My first time in Montauk was years ago and immediately I felt as if I didn't belong because of how people of color were treated at the stores, hotels and around town. This is an opportunity to work with a group of very intelligent, well meaning, and ultimately in support of joy that must be felt from people of color across all classes. When Black lives are valued in this country we can restore hope to everyone."

Frances relayed, "Making this body of work has been a process to help me explain my prejudices, sadness, joy and hope to my son. How to hold all these truths at the same level and face the traumas that have been left behind for generations like myself. Additionally, how the greater Black American history and lived experiences of Black people make us extremely resilient, inventive, and impossible to predict."

As for future Love at The End plans, Lindsay revealed, "We're still charting the future course of Love at The End. But I think it's safe to say whatever course we choose we will still be enlightening the people of the East End (and beyond) about the need to stop police brutality and help workers of color throughout our community. There are issues beyond policing that need attention such as the disparity in wages many workers of color face on the East End. We do have other ideas we are moving forward on but aren't ready to disclose yet. But keep your ear to the ground. We'll have more to say soon."

It is worth noting that 500 pieces of apparel created for the event sold out in three days across the nation. "People around the country are creating a new life for the art tied to the movement, and it's a representation of the movement overall."

For more information, visit www.loveattheend.com.

Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.

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