(NEWARK, NJ) -- On December 3, Mayor Ras J. Baraka announced the completion of two new public murals in partnership with the Social Justice Public Art initiative, #MuralsforJustice. The murals are an initiative led by City of Newark Arts and Cultural Affairs Director fayemi shakur, to create art that speaks to the call for racial justice, equity and representation. The project began in June with two Black Lives Matter-inspired ground murals and includes a mural of Sojourner Truth (located on Edison Place) by artist Grace Lynne Haynes created in collaboration with Project for Empty Space.
“Our groundbreaking mural campaign does more than decorate our streets. The murals help expand the creativity of the artists who produce them, they are meant to inspire our community, and they add to Newark’s luster as a home for the arts,” Mayor Baraka said. “These projects bring hope, joy, and help to revitalize our city.”
This Guiding Light (shown at top) is a mural made by artist Layqa Nuna Yawar in collaboration with photographer Chrystofer Davis and poet Jasmine Mans, located on McCarter Highway between Edison Place and Lafayette Street. The mural documents both the collaborative creative power present in Newark today, and the collective power seen manifested in protests across the U.S. this year. Movements for Black lives against voter suppression, racism, xenophobia and for social and climate justice overlapped during the COVID-19 pandemic. The same overlap is present in the work of artists and culture workers as they reflect and witness these moments: a guiding light toward a better tomorrow.
The content of the mural is represented in the images captured by Mr. Davis across New Jersey, a poem created by Jasmine Mans and the interpreted mural composition by Layqa Nuna Yawar.
Rise Up Fallen Fighters is a mural created by artist and President of Yendor Productions, Malcolm Rolling, in collaboration with artists Andrece Brady and Hans Lundy, located on Crawford Street in Newark’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.
Celebrated poet Ntozake Shange is centered as a focal point to represent Black resilience, liberty and justice. Ms. Shange’s smiling image is surrounded by figurative symbols that were unused models of the Statue of Liberty gifted from France to the United States. A life-affirming quote from Ms. Shange’s iconic work, “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf,” is also featured.The mural was created in partnership with Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District, the home of Yendor’s beloved late founder Rodney Gilbert.
Additionally, Four Corners Public Art Project completed Will You Be My Monument as part of the second phase of its project on Treat Place. The group is one of 40 local art groups who received a grant from the City’s Creative Catalyst Fund. Will You Be My Monument is a collaboration between writer Salamishah Tillet of New Arts Justice at Rutgers University – Newark, designer Chantal Fischzang, and photographer Scheherazade Tillet.
This public art installation was inspired by the City of Newark’s removal of the Columbus statue in Washington Park on June 25, 2020. Featuring a photograph by Scheherazade Tillet of Faa’Tina, an eight-year-old Newark resident who celebrated her eighth birthday in Washington Park that night, this work is also made up of reflective typography and acrylic mirrors that Chantal Fischzang designed to structurally connect the installation with the pedestal of the original monument and to reflect the diversity and vibrancy of the people of Newark. This sheer size of this installation – a four story-building – and its aesthetic gravitas greatly adds to the debates about monuments, racial representation, and social justice, while also enhancing contemporary conversations about the ongoing visibility and invisibility of Black girls and young women in the United States.
New Arts Justice and the Form Design Studio at Express Newark will host a series of public programs this Spring to encourage local artists and everyday citizens to contribute to these contemporary conversations about memory, belonging, and our civic landscape.
Next week, GRAMMY Museum Experience™ Prudential Center along with proud founding partner, Prudential Financial, Inc., the City of Newark, Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District, Baldwin Equities and Newark Arts will host the Whitney Houston mosaic mural virtual unveiling a new public art installation created by Newark-based artist Maude Lemaire to honor the late singer and Newark native. The 19 feet by 28 feet mural features more than 1,000 pounds of hand-cut glass in a mosaic. It is the second of five murals that the GRAMMY Museum Experience™ has brought to Newark by collaborating with other city groups.
Property owners, developers, and artists interested in sponsoring or collaborating on future murals throughout various wards in Spring 2021 can direct all inquiries and proposals to fayemi shakur, Arts & Cultural Affairs Director at email@example.com.