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RVA artist creates symbol to show 'unity breaks through'

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Posted at 5:57 PM, Jun 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-07 14:37:26-04

RICHMOND Va. -- An RVA artist known for his impromptu installations has created a symbol to represent unity in the City of Richmond in the wake of unrest.

Jake Van Yahres created a tribute to Kobe Bryant at the Randolph basketball court. He also made a chalk art display in his hometown of Charlottesville during the city's Unity Days in the wake of the deadly Unite the Right rally in 2017.

The artist calls his latest work an anti-hate symbol.

"I’d been trying to think of an anti-hate symbol. I had an idea when looking at the peace sign," he wrote on Instagram.

"Perhaps, maybe if they see that symbol they'll say, 'Oh, I've looked at the peace symbol my entire life but never have seen it like that.' You know, that it can be this other message as well."

On Friday, Van Yahres took it one step further by posting a sign in front of the Lee monument, which Gov. Ralph Northam has ordered to be removed.

That sign features the "V" in RVA as as black and white arms that come together in holding hands.

Van Yahres' sign was vandalized with a green "X" over top of it, so he returned Saturday morning and touched up to two hands with some fresh paint.

"An x was graffitied over my sign last night so I painted back only the hands to show unity breaks through," he wrote.

Van Yahres said the sign's message is simple: love over hate.

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