Artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen dedicated his new films to George Floyd.

Daria Simone Harper
Jun 5, 2020 3:55PM, via BBC News

British artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen at Tate Britain for the opening of his photographic project to take pictures of all third year school children in London on November 11, 2019. (Photo by Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images.

Turner Prize-winning artist and Oscar-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen has dedicated his two films chosen for the Cannes Film Festival to George Floyd, the unarmed Black man who was killed in Minneapolis Police Department custody on May 25th, sparking a global protest movement. The two films, Mangrove and Lovers Rock, were to be featured at the 73rd edition of the festival, which has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

McQueen said in a statement quoted by BBC News: “I dedicate these films to George Floyd and all the other black people that have been murdered, seen or unseen, because of who they are, in the U.S., U.K., and elsewhere."

McQueen’s two Cannes films are part of his new BBC-commissioned series “Small Axe,” which includes five feature-length stories set in the London West Indian community during the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s. He has dedicated all five to George Floyd. In 2008, McQueen won the Cannes Film Festival's Camera d'Or (Golden Camera) for best first feature film for Hunger. He went on to win the Oscar for best picture with his 2013 film, 12 Years a Slave.

One of McQueen’s most ambitious art projects—a vast series of class portraits featuring every third year elementary school student in London—was unveiled at Tate Britain in November. The exhibition had been due to continue until last month before the COVID-19 pandemic forced London museums to close.

Daria Simone Harper