SIGN LNGUAG

Words and images by, Cav Manning

The walls, lamp posts, windows, fences & outdoor surface areas of Brooklyn, tell the tale of what is on the minds of local residents. The internal becomes the external in the Borough. “

Covid anxiety scrawled on full display. Malevolent policing placed on cardboard notice. Anti-racist sentiments are cellotaped. Anger at the system stuck on glue paste. The urban conditions naked exhibition.

Sign language art window
by Cav manning

I began by documenting street side support for #BLM & remembrance of those #POC stolen before their time. Each sign or banner made no sound but represented a refusal to be silent. Each was a muted indictment of: Governance riddled with systemic racism, Detachment from the suffering of others & Injustice running wild. Over time, I came to include other public messages of Loss, Hope, Pride, Unity, Compassion, Anger & Love.

My friend, #LloydPorter, died due to covid-19 in the early days of NYCs lockdown & my heartbeat painfully when I first saw his face stickered to a lamp post. He was a man that actively made the hood better for us all & the hood mourned his departure. After discovering that 1st sticker of Lloyd, I began to spot them everywhere & the more I saw his face – the more I smiled in his honor – the more my soul felt solace. There was healing in their presence. Each was a bandage placed on a communal wound.


My community is a living, breathing entity. Beyond the human beings living in it, our buildings & structures are talking to us also. No, I don’t mean the anthropomorphic, hyper frenetic, fever dream of a Walt Disney movie.

Our walls don’t sing & dance. They are founded on the nitty-gritty of neighborhood reality. Our walls engage in direct conversations, silently. And when we’re laughing, you’ll know. And when we’re crying, you’ll know. X .

All words and photos by CAV MANNING.

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