Fine Decorative Art
Through the World Wall project, artists were asked to articulate a particular moment, an apex of change for their countries that best described the time in which they live and which could benefit people of other countries and realities. The concept of “from the neighborhood to the global” motivated the development of the World Wall, a traveling installation mural equal in length to one 350-foot segment of the Great Wall, which could be assembled indoors or outside in a 100-foot diameter circle as an arena for ritual and dialogue. The World Wall: A Vision of the Future Without Fear premiered in the summer of 1990 in Joensuu, Finland, where our Finnish collaborators (Sirka Lisa Lonka and Aero Matinlauri Juha Saaski) added a work called “Alternative Dialogues.” That same summer, Alexi Begov of Moscow produced a work during the fall of the Communist Party in the then-Soviet Union called “Waiting for the End of the 20th Century.” In 1999, an Israeli/Palestinian collaboration was added: “Inheritance Compromise” by Adi Yukutieli,(Israel Jewish) Akmed Bweerat (Israel Arab) and Suliman Mansour (Palestinian). Each work has represented years of intense dialogue between the artist-collaborators and work with the children of their home villages.
The newest addition in 2001 – “Tlazolteotl: The Creative Force of the UnWoven” by Martha Ramirez Oropeza and Patricia Quijano Ferrer – represents the changing role of Mexican urban/indigenous women and Mexico’s relation to the Mexican-American Border. These works, combined with the four completed by my teams in Los Angeles, create a giant arena for dialogue while encompassing the viewer in a healing circle. The murals function as a visual primer for societal transformation toward balance and peace. This work continues to move internationally adding work as it travels. Works are in planning from the First Nation people of Canada, the Australian Bushwoman, and prisoners of Brazil.
In 1988, the concept of the Great Wall was taken to a city-wide level in Los Angeles with the “Neighborhood Pride: Great Walls Unlimited Program,” which has so far sponsored more than 104 murals by artists from different parts of the city reflecting the issues of diverse groups in their own neighborhoods.
Most Recently, SPARC has been experimenting with digital mural-making techniques in the SPARC/Cesar Chavez Digital Mural Lab, created in 1996. This new collaboration between SPARC and the University of California at Los Angeles is experimenting with new methods of producing permanent murals via computer technologies. Research in the lab is yielding new substrates for murals, methods of expanding community dialogue via the Internet and murals that can be replicated if censored or destroyed.
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