The Journey Mural


>>VERTICALLY, THIS IS THE TALLEST WALL I’VE EVER DONE. MM>>WE’RE IN THE SHORT NORTH ARTS DISTRICT. AND WE ARE STANDING RIGHT NEXT TO THE NEW GRADUATE HOTEL, WHICH IS ALSO THE SITE OF AN INCREDIBLE NEW PUBLIC ART PROJECT THAT IS CALLED “JOURNEY.” MM THE PROJECT FEATURES THREE MURALS. ONE AT GROUND LEVEL, AND THEN TWO ON THE UPPER STORIES OF THE HOTEL. IN TOTAL, IT’S ABOUT 11,000 SQUARE FEET OF MURAL SPACE. SO THE ARTISTS FOR THIS PROJECT ARE RYAN SARFATI AND ERIC SKOTNES. THEY’RE BOTH LOS ANGELES BASED ARTISTS WHO HAVE DEEP ROUTES AND BACKGROUND IN THE STREET ART AND GRAFFITI ART COMMUNITY IN LOS ANGELES. AND THEY’VE BEEN DOING MURAL PROJECTS ALL OVER THE WORLD, MOST RECENTLY PAINTING BOMB SHELTERS IN ISRAEL.>>MYSELF AND MY ASSISTANT SHANE JESSUP WERE ON THIS SIDE. AND THEN ERIC AND HIS ASSISTANT ANGIE ARE ON THE OTHER SIDE.>>SO THE STORY OF “THE JOURNEY” MURAL IS ABOUT COLUMBUS AS A CITY OF PROSPERITY. YOU SEE A HUMMINGBIRD CHARACTER THAT’S FOUND THROUGHOUT ALL THREE PIECES. AND THAT HUMMINGBIRD REALLY IS CONNECTING MYTHOLOGICAL CHARACTERS AND HUMANS. IT IS EXPLORING NEW AMERICANS AND THE NEW AMERICAN JOURNEY TO COLUMBUS AS A PROSPEROUS CITY. AND ACTUALLY FEATURES HODAN MOHAMED WHO IS THE FOUNDER OF THE COLUMBUS SOMALI FESTIVAL AS WELL AS THE FOUNDER OF AN AMAZING LOCAL ORGANIZATION CALLED “OUR HELPERS,” WHICH GIVES NEW SOMALI-AMERICANS COMING TO COLUMBUS ORIENTATION SERVICES AND BASIC SERVICES SO THAT THEY CAN GET ESTABLISHED.>>OUR MISSION IS TO HELP IMMIGRANTS OVERCOME SOCIAL AND ECONOMICAL OBSTACLES. MM MM IT IS A WELCOMING CITY. AND WORKING WITH THE IMMIGRANT COMMUNITY FOR THE LAST SIX YEARS, THE ONLY THING IS BUILDING BRIDGE. THAT’S WHAT WE ARE MISSING. AND THAT’S PART OF THE JOB THAT I’M DOING RIGHT NOW.>>SOMALIANS STARTED IMMIGRATING TO COLUMBUS, I WOULD SAY, PROBABLY IN THE LATE ’90s, EARLY 2000’s. AND IT’S ESTIMATED TO BE AROUND 60 THOUSAND. SO IT’S DEFINITELY A BIG COMMUNITY HERE.>>I THINK NON-IMMIGRANT COMMUNITY, THEY WILL SEE THIS AS A PLACE TO GO BACK. AND LIKE, IF THEY EVER HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT IMMIGRANT PERSONS, OR IF THEY HAVE A COVERING — A QUESTION ABOUT COVERING YOUR HEAD OR ANYTHING, THEY SAY, “LET ME GOOGLE THAT LADY AND ASK.” FOR IMMIGRANT COMMUNITY, I THINK WE WILL FEEL LIKE, “OH, YOU KNOW, WE ARE WELCOME TO THIS CITY.” AND WE’LL FEEL LIKE IT’S OUR CITY, THOUGH ITS ALREADY OUR CITY.>>SO I THINK THAT SHE DEPICTS WHAT, YOU KNOW, A SOMALI MOTHER, AN IMMIGRANT MOTHER GO THROUGH IN THIS COUNTRY OF JUST — YOU KNOW, TRIAL, TRIBULATIONS, TRIUMPH. BUT ALSO BEING ABLE TO, KIND OF, GIVE BACK TO OTHERS THAT MAYBE LESS FORTUNATE THAN YOU ARE. SO I THINK SHE’S THE PERFECT PERSON TO BE ON THAT MURAL HERE TODAY.>>I THINK RIGHT NOW WE NEED A LOT MORE INCLUSION AND LESS EXCLUSION. AND I THINK THIS IS A PERFECT WAY TO COMMUNICATE THAT. MM>>WE HAVE MANY, MANY TALENTED ARTISTS HERE IN COLUMBUS. AND WHEN WE LED OUR CALL FOR ARTISTS, ABOUT 32% OF THE APPLICANTS WERE LOCAL. BUT THE LEVEL OF EXPERIENCE NEEDED IN ORDER TO EXECUTE A PROJECT LIKE THIS IS PRETTY SIGNIFICANT. AND WE’RE VERY FORTUNATE THAT RYAN AND ERIC HAVE THAT. SO AS PART OF THIS SPECIAL PROGRAM, THEY WILL BE LEADING AN ARTIST IN RESIDENCY PROJECT. THEY’LL BE EDUCATING 20 ARTISTS HERE LOCALLY ON THE SKILLS AND TECHNIQUES THAT ARE NECESSARY TO CREATE WORK THIS SCALE. AND GIVE THEM AN OPPORTUNITY TO CREATE WORK THEMSELVES. MM>>I CAME INTO THIS ALREADY A MURALIST, NOT ON THE DEGREE THEY ARE. LIKE, I’M NOT DOING THE SCALE STUFF THEY’RE DOING. YOU KNOW WHAT YOU KNOW, AND YOU KNOW WHAT YOU NEED TO LEARN. BUT THEN THERE’S A SUBCATEGORY OF THINGS YOU DON’T KNOW THAT YOU NEED TO LEARN.>>THE ARTISTS THAT WE’VE BEEN WORKING WITH HAVE REALLY TAUGHT ME A LOT ABOUT NEW SOFTWARE AND BASICALLY HOW TO DO MY WORK BIGGER. SO I’VE DONE THINGS 20 FEET TALL, BUT NO BIGGER THAN THAT. SO THEY HAVE A LOT OF TIPS THAT THEY WERE GENEROUS ENOUGH TO SHARE WITH US.>>I THINK ART IS — IS SUPPOSED TO INVOKE DISCUSSION. AND I THINK THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT WE’RE DOING HERE.

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