By Hettie Judah
She put the shooting of her boyfriend on Facebook live. Now artist Luke Willis Thompson has turned Diamond Reynolds into a different kind of screen star
Luke Willis Thompson is still shocked. “The timing,” he says, “was a little more powerful than I would have hoped for.” It is the morning after the unveiling of his portrait of Diamond Reynolds, the American whose boyfriend was shot dead by a Minnesota police officer last July – and who achieved a grim celebrity by broadcasting the aftermath on Facebook live.
Just days before the unveiling, officer Jeronimo Yanez had been acquitted of Philando Castile‘s manslaughter, in a court case that had shook America. Willis Thompson, his crew and the gallery staff felt closely allied to Reynolds, and had been on tenterhooks during the deliberations. “I know I am an artist, and our relationship has been confined to this project, but I’m still heartbroken for my friend.”