gun violence

“Unforgotten” Exhibit Brings Faceless Victims of Chicago Gun Violence to Life

The traveling art exhibit was commissioned by the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence

Blair Holt, a 16-year-old honor student, was killed by a teenage gunman in 2007 when Holt was riding to his grandparents' store after school.

Now in 2015, a life-like sculpture of Holt -- without a face -- stands in a plaza at the corner of Huron and Rush Streets as a reminder of the toll gun violence has taken on the Chicago area.

The sculpture is part of a public art exhibit called "Unforgotten" headed by the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence. Holt is one of eight victims of gun violence memorialized in the exhibit.

Among the others represented are 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, an honor student killed while sitting in a park after school days after attending President Obama's second inauguration; 19-year-old Ryanne Mace, who was killed by a suicidal gunman in a classroom at Northern Illinois University; and 18-year-old Terrell Bosley, who was killed in a church parking lot before the start of choir practice.

The sculptures, which are made out of plaster and wire mesh, are dressed in the victims' real clothes, and the dimensions of the sculptures mirror their actual height and weight. From behind, it appears they are real people. A view from the front, however, shows a faceless person with a hood partially concealing the empty space where his or her face would be.

The purpose of the art exhibit is to raise awareness of gun violence in Chicago as well as throughout the state of Illinois. The sculptures currently reside in the plaza at Huron and Rush, but they will travel across the state in the coming weeks.

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