Wall of Now: Children of the Wall is a dynamic mural project inspired by the 50th Anniversary of the Wall of Respect , an iconic mural that presented portraits of African-American heroes on a private building on Chicago’s South Side from 1967-1971. Chicago artists Miguel Aguilar (Kane One), Rahmaan Barnes (Statik) and Liz Lazdins (Beloved) collaborate to design and produce the public artwork highlighting the diverse and influential hip-hop community that runs deep throughout Chicago and the South Side. They will also include other artists, musicians, poets and creatives to contribute, utilizing a variety of media including spray paint, wheat paste, photography, and new technology such as cell phone applications.
Challenging the standard notion of a mural as a commemorative or celebratory presentation, Wall of Now: Children of the Wall will emphasize the potential of a mural to activate the social and dynamic qualities inherent within art and architecture. Subjects of the mural will include local hip-hop heroes such as Urbanized Music, Brickheadz breakdancers and Kuumba Lynx founder Jacinda Villegas. The mural is also one of three exhibitions at the Art Center that will take part in the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial, speaking directly to this year’s theme, “Make New History.”
The artists chose the title Children of the Wall to acknowledge the historical impact and importance the Wall of Respect had on their street art practices as well as recognizing the many artists who utilize art as a platform to push boundaries and challenge convention. As Lazdin explains, “Who are the everyday heroes? What are the contemporary calls for social justice? This project is our call for solidarity, inspired by the diversity and rich history of the Chicago South Side.”
The mural will continually be added to over the summer of 2017, culminating with a community reception on September 10 featuring music, dance, guest speakers and an open mic. The ongoing mural project will also feature a community programming series, connecting the South Side’s mural history to the broader Chicago community.