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Local artist honors victims of Syracuse gun violence in new mural

Syracuse artist Victor Matthews poses in front of one of his paintings of rapper Takeoff.
Ashley Kang
Syracuse artist Victor Matthews was commissioned to paint a mural of recent victims of gun violence, including Brexialee Torres-Ortiz. The mural is set to be unveiled for the family Saturday, inside 308 Otisco St.

A mural is set to be unveiled Saturday on Syracuse’s West Side to honor victims of gun violence. It features Kihary Blue, Rashaad Walker Jr., Dior Harris and Brexialee Torres-Ortiz. All individuals were killed in gang-related violence, ranging in age from 11 months to 19 years old.

Co-founder of Rebirth Syracuse Hasahn Bloodworth commissioned the mural for a property he’s been renovating for the last four months.

“We came up with those four kids because those are the ones that affected us most," he said. "So, we picked those four to start with. That's only a start. Because there's going to be, actually, a lot more kids added on there, unfortunately.”

With local artist Victor Matthews, Bloodworth’s mural idea came to life. Matthews said he is inspired by Bloodworth’s advocacy and wanted to use his talents to help keep these individuals’ memories alive.

"You know, helping families get through it," he said of its importance. "Letting them know that their loved ones are still in our minds.”

Family of each victim have been invited to view the mural, painted inside 308 Otisco St. It’s a space Bloodworth hopes to eventually open, where teens can go after school and feel safe.

Matthews will continue to add to the mural. The next five who are planned to be featured are: Akil Williams, Naqual Mohammed “Dookie” Bloodworth, Ny’Kim Young, James Springer and Duriel Lamar Ryan.