Close up shot of 20 – I can't breathe a knitted artwork

20 – I can’t breathe​

Size:  Height 86 cm x  Width 70 cm

Background to I can’t breathe​

This is artwork was created for Instagram. I like to produce work that is seen outside of the gallery setting.  Instagramart enables me to respond to events and receive feedback from people all over the world. The video below is called ‘20’ George Floyd said  ‘I can’t breathe’ 20 times. When I found this out I thought about when I was at school the teachers would make you write lines as a punishment. I decided to knit a piece with the aesthetics of writing lines.


I chose a font that is condensed to symbolise the squeezing/ pressure George had to endure. I like that the ‘a’ looks like an ‘o’? When you have to write lines you don’t care what the writing looks like, the object is to get the job done. Likewise, the police officer who killed George didn’t care what his heinous crime looked like as he was being filmed.

The colours chosen black and white felt like me taking George’s words and putting it in print – like the idiom ‘in black and white’ what happen was easy to understand and judge – there are no grey areas.

The knitted piece is position on the roadside in the gutter by double yellow lines with a police car passing by.

The gutters speaks to – the squalid, degrading conditions. The double yellow lines – no stopping. Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck didn’t stop even though he was being filmed. The killing of unarmed black people doesn’t stop.


100% acrylic

Technical information:

This two colour double jacquard knitted artwork was created on a domestic Passap E6000 knitting machine.

Other artworks by me that deal with the issues raised in ‘I can’t breathe:

Tangled web
Harriet Tubman knitted $20 bill 
I don’t see colour
Don’t Bleach
Out of the Blue

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