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  • John Mavroudis

VIA DOLOROSA: The Murder of Tyre Nichols.

Updated: Mar 28, 2023

Via Dolorosa (Latin for “Sorrowful Way” or “Way of Suffering”) represents the route Jesus took on his journey to crucifixtion. An innocent man condemned to die in a horrible way. I grew up going to church and have vivid memories of walking the Stations of the Cross. That small act in the church of walking from station to station and actually seeing what transpired has always stayed with me. When I read about the death of Tyre Nichols, two things flashed before me: The death of George Floyd (We STILL have so long to go in this country), and walking the Stations of the Cross. Whereas, the death of George Floyd could be depicted in a single horrible image, Tyre’s death was a series of horrific events. Someone could have stopped this at any time, but no one did. I started looking at that suffering route and drawing the parallels.

This project started on the weekend after the release of the videos that showed his murder in vidid, brutal detail. I read about what happened, but did not want to watch.

I then received an email from Roger McNamee, a great patron of the arts, who said that he would support the printing, if I wanted to tackle the subject. I was definitely on board. The Haight Street Art Center in San Francisco also reached out... so I took on this project. There was no way to avoid it now. I had to document what happened... not so much for the black community, who might be outraged, saddened, devastated by yet another act of police violence against them... but for people who might be shocked that this was still happening in our country. It happens a lot... and it was important to remind people of that.

The 14 Stations tell the story of Tyre's death. But there's another piece which shows a portrait of his life. I hope people will see his humanity, and thus, feel the tragedy of his death even more. This can never be something we simply shrug off.

This small exhibition will be shown alongside the primary exhibition of the great photographer Herbie Greene at The Haight Street Art Center in San Francisco.

The photos are courtesy of my friend, Richard Osborn, an excellent photographer from San Francisco.

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