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Elijah Mckenzie-Jackson’s ‘321 ping’ is an evocative piece about US gun violence

Renowned for creating art rich in social commentary, Elijah McKenzie-Jackson has just unveiled his newest piece ‘321 ping’ – which intends to highlight the staggering number of victims who succumb to gun violence every day in the US. 

As an artist, I feel it is my duty to use my work to spark conversations and bring attention to important social issues,’ says 19-year-old Elijah McKenzie-Jackson. 

Wise beyond his years, the British-born artist and activist has created a powerful and evocative piece called ‘321 ping,’ which will begin to pop up on billboards across the States in the coming weeks.  

Comprised of two standout elements, the piece features a red social media engagement bubble displaying 321 broken hearts and a single gun. This figure reflects the stark reality that on average 321 lives are taken by gun violence in the US every single day. 

Alongside this focal element is half a solemn portrait sprayed in vivid shades of red and yellow. This is representative of everyday civilians and reflects the reality that anyone can be affected in an instant by the ever-present threat of firearms.

As we discovered last summer in an impromptu chat with the artist, McKenzie-Jackson has always been a strong advocator for both environmental and social justice, and his latest design is a powerful indictment of arguably the country’s most endemic problem.

‘The statistics around gun violence in America are staggering, and it’s something that affects us all,’ says McKenzie-Jackson, who is now primarily based in New York City. 

‘Being British has its perks, and growing up away from gun violence was one of them. I hope in the future children of the USA can do the same. My goal for this art piece is to encourage people to think critically about the Second Amendment and the need to break stigma away from the idea of repeal.’ 

The right to bear arms in the US has been a constant source of debate for decades, with those in-favour believing the reform acts as a deterrent for gun crime, while those fervently against point to the staggering frequency of tragedies every year. 

As McKenzie-Jackson eludes, 321 ping is a stark reminder that nihilism won’t put a dent in the ceaseless losses occurring throughout the nation. People need to make their voices heard. 

In a newly launched billboard displaying the piece, an accompanying annotation is visible underneath the stencils. It reads: ‘321 people died today in the United States from firearms… repeal the Second Amendment.’ 

321 ping will soon be visible in hotspots across the US, as well as placards in upcoming demonstrations against firearms. In the meantime, check out more of McKenzie-Jackson’s fantastic work at his official website