Art Show Inspired by Parkland Shooting Victims Is Extended

MIAMI — Wielding a paint roller like a cudgel in a video seen by 2.1 million people, Manuel Oliver quickly — almost angrily — imprints his message on the mural in wide, black strokes: “We Demand a Change.”

In the middle of the mural is a portrait of his son, Joaquin Oliver, one of the 17 victims of the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., last month, wearing a black woolen hat and a slight smile.

For Mr. Oliver, an artist and photographer who has lived for 14 years in Coral Springs, Fla., near the school, painting the mural on Saturday in a pop-up gallery in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood was his first act as what he calls a “graphic activist,” a position he has adopted in the wake of the killings.

“Now I have a new role and I’m going to play that role until the end,” Mr. Oliver said in a telephone interview on Monday. “The role is to support the agenda of the kids who are demanding answers to what’s going on,” he said, referring to demonstrations by Parkland survivors and others in which they call for stronger controls on guns.

The mural was part of an exhibition, titled “Parkland 17” and set up in an otherwise empty warehouse, that was dedicated to the memory of the victims. It included 14 empty school desks with the names and ages of each dead student, two desks signifying teaching staff members, and a patch of grass with painted football-field lines, in honor of the school’s assistant football coach. There was also a phone booth from which callers could contact their elected representatives. The exhibition, assembled by the artist Evan Pestaina, was initially intended to last only two days — Saturday and Sunday, for a total of 17 hours — but because of “overwhelming demand” it will reopen this weekend, the curator, Calyann Barnett, said.

“We might add to it for this weekend,” she said. “Some other family members might want to hang something. Maybe they had kids who were going to college and the parents may want to hang the school colors, that sort of thing. The parents could bring their acceptance letters or anything they want to share.”

The exhibition was prompted by the Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, who was a hero to Joaquin Oliver and for whom Ms. Barnett serves as creative director. After the National Basketball Association star heard that the young Mr. Oliver, an avid sports fan, had been buried in a Wade jersey, he visited the school on March 7 and spoke with students.

“I come from a community in Chicago where our youth are getting killed daily and don’t have the same voice, don’t have the same light on them that Parkland has,” Mr. Wade said after the school visit, according to The Associated Press. “These kids understand what they have.”

The art exhibition was “his way of honoring them,” Ms. Barnett said. After the artist completed the mural, he signed it with a reference to his 17-year-old son’s nickname: “Guac’s Dad. Love you Forever.” Then, Mr. Wade and several Parkland students added messages and their signatures to the wall.

“We won’t forget you, so we will make sure they don’t,” Mr. Wade wrote.

The show also promoted the “March for Life” rally on March 24 in Washington, which many Parkland survivors are expected to attend.

Mr. Oliver, who more than a decade ago contributed a photograph titled “Rebuilding Peace” to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York, was grateful for the opportunity to take part in the Wynwood show. “I had a lot of feelings I’ve never had before while painting,” he said. “I’m trying to stay strong with this situation.”

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