The Biscuit doesn’t have a “Man/Woman of the Year” award. But if we did, Ricky Singh would be a top contender.
As one of the founders of the Charlotte Lab School, Singh is no stranger to the creative scene. But, in the wake of a shooting along Beatties Ford Rd. that claimed the lives of four Charlotteans on June 22, he went into overdrive.
With community leaders and artists, Singh started the “Beatties Ford Strong” movement, organizing murals and public art in West Charlotte to give neighbors something positive to rally around.
From there, he hasn’t stopped — working with SHARE Charlotte on #GivingTuesdayCLT, painting a #CountOnMeCLT mural, partnering with the Charlotte Symphony on a video filmed along Beatties Ford Rd. and preparing to open the Lab School’s new campus on South Tryon St.
Looking Backward to Look Forward
Over the months, one project has eluded Singh — a mural on the side of the Queens Mini Mart at 2120 Beatties Ford Rd., the site of the June shooting. Temporary memorials were set up on the sidewalk since the day of the shooting, but Singh wanted to do something more hopeful and permanent. He was patient and worked with Historic West End Partners to contact property owners and get the proper permissions.
Now, he’s in the process of finishing a mural there with help from Makayla Binter and a grant from the NoDa Neighborhood Association. It’s based on the sankofa, a metaphorical symbol from Ghana. The sankofa depicts a bird whose neck is reaching backward to pluck an egg from its back. It’s a reminder that we must look into the past … however painful it may be … to create a positive future.
Singh says West End neighbors have stopped by to thank him, share stories of friends they’ve lost at that site and, sometimes, cry with him. (We can confirm that. During our eight-minute interview, Singh was stopped five times by residents who wanted to thank him.)
“This is a non-conventional memorial and another measure of ‘putting down the guns’ and moving forward,” said Singh. “To me, this is sacred ground, and people are starting to see it that way, too.”
Watch a WBTV interview with Singh at the site of the mural here.
Photographer Brooke Brown Caught the Creative Process
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