This mural celebrates the capacity of individuals and the potential of pulling together people of varying ability. Each piece, each stroke and color are a story, an expression of vitality, a statement of identity. They come from participants at Munroe-Meyer Institute, the Ollie Webb Center, QLI and VODEC; from their drawings, paintings, stories and imaginings, developed in workshops with four WhyArts? artists: Lisa Kalantjakos, Natalie Linstrom, Mary Sheldrick and Paula Wallace.
For my part, working with the artists, institutions and participants is a great pleasure. My job has been to work together with the artist-practitioners and cull everything into a coherent whole. This is the first project I have done in which the overall style is determined through a collaboration of so many, while retaining the individual touch of each.
Here it is now.
The light blue oculus is the world outside us and the dark blue well is our deeper selves. The red space of the mural represents our interior, perceived world, where dreams and reality slide through each other, connected by the paths we are on.
The spiral, ladder and stair stood out from the source imagery and leaned towards the ways in which we move through the world, its challenges and the joy of reaching. They also refer to the game of chutes and ladders in which chance is so important. Chance. What does your DNA determine? What are the ramifications of a moment on the rest of our lives? Though the effects vary, we all share the code of the double helix; we are all trapeze artists flying through the open space of time.
There are objects on the path that do not fit categorically with each other, but coalesce into a broader spectrum of shared experience and perceptions of identity. A fruit basket and dumbbell to meet the challenge of staying healthy; tools of work, discovery and play; possession of time; finding freedom to fly in our lives; to wear the crown and a genuine smile; the security of home and friends; celebration in music, dance, written and visual arts; the impulse to venture beyond…
Four figures anchor the composition, representing the participants and anyone described as having a disability. Two are based on actual tracings of participants’ bodies. They stand, float and dance; greeting and inviting the viewer, anyone, to cross the threshold into this vibrant world.