Every day we live we are one more day closer to our last, whether we know it or not. It’s a hard thing to think about, but Gyasi Williams-Kirtley is asking the uncomfortable question, “What would you do with your last 24 hours of life?” After losing both her Godmother and great uncle to cancer in the same year, she wanted to go out and see how others coped with loss. That was the birth of “The Last Days” a small social experiment which has blossomed into a much larger project.
Williams-Kirtley first started the project at Broccoli Festival in 2016. She got her first response from bLAck pARty who said, ”Do acid and buy bikes for kids,” and that was the beginning of this ongoing project. From there she traveled to different festivals and events across the country to snap a Polaroid and ask that same question to eighty more people. She talked to everyone from Donald Glover and Naomi Campbell, to Jaden Smith. Williams-Kirtley told The Fader, “During the time a Polaroid is developing, you can use that opportunity to have a conversation with your subject . . . It’s interactive, it’s personal.”
“Culturally, there are so many different things that separate us. Our pigmentation, our dialects, our belief systems. Death is the only thing that really connects us and reminds us we’re connected. You only see people come together when bad things happen. I think it should always be that way, togetherness.” – Gyasi Williams-Kirtley told ID.
After showing her work at The Storefront Project gallery in LES, the artist was inspired to continue this journey. Her new goal is to capture 200 more people by the end of the year. If you’re inspired by the story she’s trying to tell, you can help support her here.
During an interview with ID, they asked Williams-Kirtley, “What would you do with the last 24 hours of your life?” To a question she probably thinks about daily, she replied, “My answer changes every day. Today, I’d listen to Flying Lotus featuring Kendrick Lamar, Never Catch Me.”