Artist Nikkolas Smith says he wanted to capture the “final, joyful moment” of the 28-year-old daughter and aunt.
Jefferson was shot and killed by a Fort Worth police officer while playing video games with her young nephew.
“I just wanted to show like these are just beautiful souls, like in their pajamas, having a good time enjoying each other,” Smith said when asked about his motivation for the piece.
The artwork shows Jefferson and her 8-year-old nephew happily holding controllers as they compete, playing in a video game.
Smith said he wanted the painting to highlight positivity in a trying time. “A lot of times when these events occur… like you know it might be a black person is killed by the cops — often times in their own home or on their own property — the narrative usually shifts immediately to something bad,” he said. “Atatiana had a gun in her home to protect herself from people crawling around, strangers at night.”
It only took three seconds, THREE SECONDS, before a Fort Worth police officer fatally shot #AtatianaJefferson in front of her nephew.
We have to hold our law enforcement accountable and fix the systematic failures that have brought us here today. pic.twitter.com/wkFUT1XzVx
— Rep. Marc Veasey (@RepVeasey) October 16, 2019
Congressman Marc Veasey, whose district includes Fort Worth, shared the artwork as he called for police reform on the floor of the U.S. House.
The funeral for Atatiana Jefferson will be held Thursday, October 24 at Concord Church in Dallas. Services are scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m.