This Mural's design took its inspiration from a summers worth of neighborhood programs involving writing, painting, and mask making, and is very loosely inspired by the Paul Lawrence Dunbar poem “We Wear the Mask”.
The theme revolves around healing, and the ways in which ones faith and surrounding friends and neighbors can provide support.
The photos are taken from actual events over the summer, and the two main figures were summer participants who posed for me. The imagery of the waterfall in the arches is stained glass that my assistants and I spent a month cutting.
The waterfall continues in paint below the bridge. The water and the idea of reflection were a way of bringing religious elements to the design without being too heavy handed.
This design was a collaborative effort between my Graterford Prison Class, Bibleway Baptist Church and myself.
The images to the right of the design were taken over the summer at "Lovefest" a Church organized event that sees hundreds of participants from the area every year.
This event which focuses issues revolving around healing within a faith based community, involves music, dance, theater, and food.
The laying-on-of-hands prayer circle took place at the previous Love Fest and serves as a good example of the power of healing through group support.
Lines of poetry appear throughout the piece, provided by the participants of the project, namely Graterford Prison, Youth at St. Gabes Hall, and youth at Vision Quest.
My assistant Charlie stands at the bottom to give you an idea of scale. The wall stands roughly 40ft high by 60ft wide, and its unique shape and vaulted roof provided interesting design opportunities.
The Baluba Mask is 7' in diameter, 1.5' in relief, built by my assistants and myself, and painted and covered in glass during mural workshops. The Boy is depicted removing his mask showing his true self.
These fragments describe one's journey toward healing beginning with grief. The silhouetted figure is isolated. The lower fragments show how this depression can be lifted through others, self improvement, and spirituality.
The project started with a paint day/team building leadership exercise with funders from Lincoln Financial.
The women flew in from different parts of the country to meet at the Eakins house for 3 hours to contribute.
They got the chance to paint some pretty major elements of the mural.
Finished Panel ready to install. I like to be able to provide a section thats both complex, but easy to finish in one sitting. It leaves the participant feeling accomplished.
For the first major neighborhood paint day I had everyone start off by painting the most important image of the wall...
the main figures face.
The later workshops incorporated painting and decorating the large mask with glass and mirror. Some people opted just to keep on painting instead.
These last few painting workshops focused on the imagery from Love Fest, with the rest of the mural being painted by the Graterford class, and myself.
Portrait of Pastor Damone Jones Sr. of The Bibleway Baptist Church. Pastor Jones father owned and used to live in the building that the mural is attached to.
This 6 month long project wrapped up a very busy 2008. Im immensely happy with what we were able to do in such a short amount of time. This project is written about in painstaking detail in the "Interact" portion of the site. Learn more by clicking there.