Lifted. Mural is located on the west facing exterior wall of Anne Hebard School of Ballet at 795 Broadway, Kingston, NY.
References from the mural project came from a performance by Dillon Paul with Diana Steinberg and family in Buckfield, ME during the summer of 2018. Photo Direction/ Documentation/ Drawing by Lindsey Wolkowicz. Lifted was commissioned by the O+ Festival in Kingston, NY for it’s 9th annual celebration. The mission of O+ is to empower communities to take control of their collective wellbeing through art. music, and wellness. Learn more about O+ Festival here: https://opositivefestival.org Below is the text from the original proposal for Lifted in response to the 2018 festival theme of “Shadows.”
A shadow is shaped darkness resulting from light being blocked. Shadow is a place to hide from being seen. Shadows are cast by things that stand between us and the sun. Shadow shows us the form of something while denying us the details or characteristics of that thing. It is intangible. You cannot hold a shadow. It stretches forms or compresses them. Shadows are a place where things exist that are afraid of being seen or are unseen by passersby, shadows keep situations from being exposed for what they are or provide the illusion of safety for things that are unable to tolerate light being cast on them.
In the times that we are living in "shadows" have also been used to describe the societal space occupied by marginalized communities. That marginalization can result from something like lack of immigration documentation, lack of income, lack of representation, lack of recognition, lack of opportunity or lack of precedent. But, as we see in chiaroscuro in Art History, shadows can also define bodies in space, provide direction and create a sense of power.
In the past year, the powerful voices that have emerged from the shadows have so often belonged to self-identified women, of all ages, especially women of color and marginalized communities. Women leaders have emerged from dark places to be seen and be heard. And in Kingston, there are many women helping to lead the way... in the arts, education, community organizing, through movement and music and radio and words... and they too have shined their light on our dark places, on those who so often remain unseen, on the valuable aspects of our lives and our community that deserve our attention.
My hopes with this project would be to engage with some of those women, across boundaries of age, community, race, neighborhood, and to bring them forward as the bodies in the mural. There is a saying that is associated with the Riot Grrrl movement, and is attributed to one of the founders of that movement, that is "girls to the front." I believe that we are at a time in history where it is imperative that we teach younger girls how to lead by modeling all the ways to be a woman in the world. To teach them about their power. To teach them that their feelings, and there ability to communicate them, are a strength not a weakness. To show them how beautiful they are in all of their shapes and sizes and skin tones and gender expressions. To emerge from the shadow of the patriarchy, the shadow of inequity, and to stretch their influence and talents out across their communities.
The girls and women in the mural would be visually brought together by the gestures of their bodies along with line and color and structural planes as is typical in my work. They would appear to be supporting each other as the dark, shadowed planes in the work would act as a space for them to occupy and visually emerge from. Stepping out of the shadows. Forward together. Girls to the front.