Last year, in solidarity with Breonna Taylor’s family, artist and curator Lady Pheønix developed Breonna’s Garden, a revolutionary framework for veneration through augmented reality (AR). What began as a single powerful concept has blossomed like the garden itself, offering opportunities for honoring and healing entire communities using exponentially-merging technology.
The development of the project began after Lady Pheønix learned that Ju’Niyah Palmer, (Breonna’s younger sister) was receiving death threats while publicly grieving her sister’s murder on Instagram. After speaking with Ju’Niyah, it was apparent that she not only needed a safe space to process her grief; but so did entire online communities that supported Breonna.
The Garden has not just evolved from a healing tool for Ju’Niyah and her family into a healing tool for the nation, it has grown immensely to encompass AR, VR, and physical mediums, touching the hearts of communities across the country, according to a release.
Now, following successes at Tribeca Film Festival, the Perez Art Museum Miami, the Augmented World Expo where Breonna’s Garden won Best Societal Impact Award, as a PGA finalist, and nominee for both an Aurea Top 50 award in immersive entertainment and Unity Award for Best Social Impact, and most recently SXSW, the sanctuary where her name can be said without negation is coming to Breonna’s hometown of Louisville.
Not only does this homecoming of sorts mean that members of Breonna’s own community will be able to experience the AR Garden and the newer VR and volumetric content that transports audiences to a very special place where they’re surrounded by the heart and mind of Breonna’s loved ones, it also represents the next evolution of the space for veneration. WEGIVE.FLOWERS is the next iteration of the Breonna’s Garden Virtual Reality Experience, made possible by partnership with the Roots 101 African American Museum.
In partnering with the Roots 101 African American Museum, this experience is both able to reach a new audience and be rightfully enmeshed in cultural history. Offering a space for community-members to come for an entire month and join the garden, but also making the weekend that would have been Breonna’s 29th birthday an incredibly special time for compassion and community.
The WEGIVE.FLOWERS Breewayy Brunch and Day Party, taking place on Breonna’s birthday, is a unique opportunity for communal memory, sitting at the intersection of celebration and grief. Rather than emphasizing mourning, the all-day event brings optimism, allowing us to look forward to the incredible work and community support online spaces and technological advancements have allowed us to achieve. With food, beverages, surrounding floral arrangements, photo opportunities, music, and Breonna Taylor’s family and loved ones present, this becomes a space for unapologetic joy and vulnerability.
Now, more than ever, collective reconciliation feels paramount to the evolution of the human story. Breonna’s Garden is an artistic model of transformative justice. The Garden seeks to align Breonna with her purpose instead of her pain. This event continues that mission, reminding each and every person who is touched by the experience that there is hope in moving forward and the opportunity to fill our world with more authentic vulnerability.
Legendary Australian artist Sutu led the project as its art and technical director, volumetric capture was provided by Metastage and Microsoft, audio by Ecco VR, Brenda Chen supported as the technical artist, Sound design was provided by composer Jake Steele, Character Design by Candie Quach, Rigging and Animation by JC Leon, Content Moderation by XR Safety Initiative, with additional support provided by Unity. Breonna’s Garden invites those who would like to experience the original AR version ahead of the event to download the app here. Now is the perfect time to say her name, louder.
Breonna’s Garden XR Exhibition
June 4, 2022 | 4pm – 9pm
June 4, 2022 – July 3rd, 2022
Roots 101 African American Museum
124 N 1st St, Louisville, KY 40202
WEGIVE.FLOWERS Breewayy Brunch Garden Party
June 5th, 2022
1205 E. Washington St Louisville, Kentucky 40206