Durham artist uses talents to encourage conversation about violence in community

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Recent shootings and homicides in the Bull City have a local artist using her skills to promote awareness.

According to the city’s year-to-date crime statistics, as of Dec. 7, there have been 36 homicides. That’s compared to 31 homicides happening within the same time period for 2018.

Kasia Konopka has spent most of her life as a graphic artist.

“I love everything modern, everything colorful, and everything that has an impact,” Konopka said.

She’s called Durham home for two and a half years. She said the recent violence throughout the city concerns her.

“It really bothers me. I feel like we all deserve a safe city for all of us,” she said. “I personally just feel very disturbed about the fact (that) people are getting hurt so close to where I live, so close to where we all live.”

Now, she’s using art to articulate a conversation.

“It’s a very universal language,” Konopka said. “Everybody understands it. Everybody can speak to it.”

Some of her latest works are posters incorporating the city of Durham’s flag into objects including a gun, bullet, and target. She’s asking questions while providing perspectives.

“The idea behind the posters is to show in a simple, yet shocking way, how close all of these things are happening,” she said. “All of this is about saving lives and making this place safer for everyone.”

One design referenced the death of 9-year-old Z’yon Person, who was shot and killed over the summer while riding with his family to get ice cream.

“It’s absolutely heartbreaking,” Konopka said. “I have never seen anything like this, or had anything like this happen so close to me.”

Her goal is the pictures hopefully bring peace.

“If even at least one life gets spared by these posters, this is just my huge success,” she said.

Konopka said she plans on doing more projects and posting them around the city.

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