Multicultural Mural Project unveiled in NOTO

Multicultural Mural Project unveiled in NOTO
Published: May. 6, 2022 at 8:23 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Art lovers and cultural advocacy members gathered at Topeka’s Habitat for Humanity building to see new paintings showcasing African-American, Hispanic-American, and Native-American history in our area.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony welcomed artists Mona Cliff, Jamie Colon, and George Mayfield who spoke more about their pieces. The sponsors for this include Topeka Habitat, ArtsConnect, Tonantzin Society, the Prairie Band Potawatomi, LLC, and the Greater Topeka Partnership.

Colon’s work shows the highest-ranking Aztec soldier, marigold flowers representing how the dead made their way back to their families. A young girl looking up to a monarch butterfly signifying migration and individuals inside a boxcar.

“Those families that came through the railroad that left the Mexican revolution that had to migrate away but they didn’t have anywhere to live and they lived like the mayor was saying earlier, as many cultures did, they lived in the boxcars. To this day, they are people here in Topeka that can tell you about that. They’re still here,” he said.

Cliff used yellow representing the fire on the Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribe seal and blue for the Osage Nation coming together like their cultural beadwork and ribbon skirts.

“Trying to bring together the female and male energies with the different colors and kind of representing all of that,” she said. “It was an honor and I really appreciate everyone coming out today to take a look at it and I’m just very honored to be here today.”

Mayfields’ piece has various names and locations, like Dale Cushinberry and Tennessee Town, drawn inside a bubble. He said they made an impact as life flashes by.

“I was trying to represent that in this short period of time, there are some individuals that came about and made a difference right here in Topeka and we are going to, as the years go by, put more bubbles and more individuals in there because there’s a whole lot that I missed,” he said.

Mayor Mike Padilla said the work paints a picture of recognizing people’s differences but embracing similarities.

“The more and more we see this visible expression of what our community is, I think the better it is for our community,” he said.

Topeka’s Habitat for Humanity CEO Janice Watkins said it was an easy decision to let them showcase their art.

“Everyone deserves access to safe, decent, and affordable housing and part of the challenges with that are the inequities and the lack of access that are demonstrated in these cultures that are represented on our wall with Black-Americans, Native-Americans, and Hispanic-Americans,” she said.

You can visit the wall at 121 NE Gordon Street in the NOTO Arts District.

13 News at Six

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