Wake Up - 2017
Location: Central and Lake-Austin Community Chicago IL.
This 1000 square feet mural titled “Wake Up” is located at Chicago and Lake in the Austin Community.
Our 2017 cohort of apprentices were comprised of both Oak Park and Austin youth. As done in past summers, the apprentices solicited input from Austin community residents through asking random people a series of questions concerning their community. Many of the responses included words and ideas such as Hope, Dreams, Peace, Awaken, Consciousness, Brighter Future, Stop the Violence.
While the cohort agreed that the composition of the mural should reflect the voice of the people, several of the Oak Park apprentices acknowledged that they had never experienced the Austin community prior to the program. They recognized that many of the concerns of the Austin residents are not the same concerns most people have for Oak Park. This was not new information to them but actually interacting directly with residents of Austin allowed them to put a human face to the concerns they otherwise read about or see in the media.
Some of the apprentices felt apprehensive about designing a mural to represent the voices of a community that they new little about. The five section composition evolved from very rich conversations had between the group regarding the differences in their personal experiences with “community”. The common denominator was the freedom to DREAM. Everyone dreams. Many questions arose; Are the dreams of any one person, community or culture more important than others? Do people dream in order to escape their reality? Do we exist in a state of reality or are we constantly dreaming?
Once the group locked in on the main theme of the composition they went to work to develop imagery to convey their collective interpretation of the conversations they had with the Austin community. The four images that balance the composition are, the Eye of Horus, the butterfly, a woman emerging from a chrysalis and an image of a half African American male face / half African mask. The text that winds throughout the imagery reads as follows;
Our Dreams hold our hopes and highest visions of our true selves.
Where do you go when you dream?
The Eye of Horus- an ancient Egyptian symbol of protection, good health and Royal Power.
We must remain powerful in our own eyes and not be lulled into a false sense of reality.
We must protect our spirits, minds, bodies, children, community, culture, history and our future from influences that do not serve our highest good.
Have we given up on our dreams because we have bought into someone else's reality?
The butterfly - a symbol of change, of transformation
Step into your wings.
What happens when YOU Wake Up?
Do you eagerly emerge from a dream into reality or do you escape reality to find solace in the dream?
Will you mask your true self or will you unapologetically stand in your Royal Power?