Nikkolas Smith Nikkolas Smith’s digital painting of Atatiana Jefferson and her nephew has been shared more than 30,000 times on Facebook.
She wears a wide smile, perhaps mid-laugh, as she sits on a couch next to a smiling boy. Their hands clutch remote controls to a video game. Their eyes reflect shared joy.
In the digital painting, artist Nikkolas Smith captures the “final, joyful moment” of a 28-year-old aunt who was gunned down in her home this month by a police officer in Fort Worth, Texas, who’d been summoned for a welfare check.
“I wanted to paint the last thing pre-Med graduate Atatiana Jefferson was doing before she was killed by the cops,” he wrote in an Instagram message posted with his artwork.
Rather than capture Jefferson’s killing — truc tiep bong da for which the officer has been charged with murder — or the community protest that’s followed, Smith aimed to “show the humanity of the victim,” he told CNN on Tuesday.
His perspective has struck a chord.
The oil painting-like sketch of Jefferson and the 8-year-old nephew who witnessed her death is now the most-shared Facebook post by an artist whose images of the slain rapper Nipsey Hussle encouraging schoolkids and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in a hoodie also have captured widespread attention.