The tragic end to the case of Avonté Oquendo, a severely autistic and nonverbal teen who was found dead, evoked strong reaction from many across the country and online. A graphic designer from New York decided that he wanted to honor the memory of the boy and provide a different image to remember him by, drawing him as an angel.
“That whole situation is a big tragedy, it was a lot to take in when I first heard about it,” Lavan Wright, 23, told BuzzFeed. “What actually happened to Avonté, I felt really bad about that. I didn’t know how to help, I’m an artist so when I feel things I act by illustrating it, by drawing it. I felt it would be a good way to remember him and put a lot of people at ease.”
He said there is more to the young teen’s life, than the gruesome way the story concluded publicly.
“It allows people to see him as an angel, knowing he’s in a better place right now.”
Wright adds his own characters who have symbolic meaning to his pieces, and spoke about the puzzle piece Avonté is holding in his arms. He said he first made the character for an autism walk he attended last year.
“It’s a reminder that he was an autistic child that should have been protected,” Wright said.
Avonté’s brother Daniel Oquendo has even seen the drawing, sharing it on Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram.
“It’s amazing that Avonté’s brother saw it,” Wright said. “I just wanted to show it to them, his brother and his family. Again, I felt it was the least I could do, portraying my vision on a piece of paper. If it’s possible I would love to make prints and give them to the family.”
Danny Oquendo told BuzzFeed his family would love prints of the artwork and is going to connect with Wright.
Tracy Clayton contributed to this report.
- A luxury event called Fyre Festival has turned into a total shitshow. "I think the festival took on a life of its own," the event's co-founder said 😱
- American Airlines gave workers a raise — to the highest pay in the industry — and Wall Street is furious. The company's stock has been falling since Thursday.
- The new leader of Marine Le Pen's National Front party in France has stepped down amid accusations of Holocaust denial.
- We found an average of about one false statement per day from Trump and his aides throughout the president's first 100 days in office 💯