ABOVE: Commissioned piece entitled “A Conversation with George” in honor of the late George Floyd
Local entrepreneur and philanthropist Dannette Davis of Kay Davis Associates recently commissioned a piece entitled “A Conversation with George” by renowned sculptress Adrienne Rison-Isom, in honor of the late George Floyd.
According to Isom, the piece took months of research and learning about Floyd to bring the life-sized bronze statue to life.
“I met with many of Floyd’s family and friends while creating this piece and everyone described him as having a playful, approachable temperament and human nature,” said Isom. “I wanted to represent that by sculpting him with a nonintimidating facial expression and easy-going body language.”
From the beginning of the project, Davis and Isom made it a point to make sure that the Floyd Family Foundation was involved and approved of the sculpture.
“It’s his family and they need to be good with it and support,” said Davis. “If they are good with it then we know that we have done our job.”
Commissioner Rodney Ellis, whose Precinct One includes the Third Ward neighborhood where Floyd grew up, was among the first supporters of the project, along with Houston Councilmember Carolyn Evans-Shabazz. They both worked alongside Davis and the Kay Davis In The Community Foundation to choose the perfect location.
“Initially we thought of the Third Ward area until the idea of Tom Bass Park was mentioned,” said Davis. “It was really an ‘aha’ moment for us all. The beauty of Tom Bass, surrounded by the lakes and nature really captures Floyd’s peaceful demeanor as described by his family and friends.”
The sculpture depicts Floyd seated at an outdoor table, welcoming everyone of all races and ethnic backgrounds to have a seat and join him. The symbolism of Floyd being an approachable guy who would “spark” conversation or friendship with anyone is what Davis says she wants visitors to take away.
Many do not know that Floyd was an artist as well. Davis was impressed when she learned that he played a major part in the rise of Houston’s most notable rap group “The Screwed Up Click.” The group, which was led by the legendary DJ Screw, helped popularize Houston’s iconic “chopped and screwed” sound that has become synonymous with Houston rap.
“We all witnessed the impact that George Floyd made on the world, but at the end of the day, he was a “regular guy” with a few extraordinary talents,” Davis continued. “He was an athlete and artist, but he was also a father, a son, and a brother. Just like all of us he was a multi-dimensional human trying to find his way in this world.”
Davis hopes that the life-size bronze statue will not only serve as a tribute to Floyd, but will also serve as a public bookmark in history, capturing a snapshot of a transformative moment in time.
“I think it’s important to focus on his humanity and ours, taking a break from the political messaging that typically follows the mentioning of his name,” said Davis. “How do we make life better for the young people he cared about and mentored? This gift of life-size art should make you ponder your life choices and future. It is also a beautiful bronze piece to be appreciated and admired when visited.”
It is also the hope of Davis that this work shows Floyd from a unique perspective and fosters positive conversations on race.
The official unveiling of the statue will be open to the public in late May, near the anniversary of his death. The date and time to be announced.