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New mural by Nether in Fishtown pays homage to America’s only all-gay and transgender gang

July 5, 2016

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Completed about a week ago, the newest of the Mural Arts-funded rotating murals outside of the Fillmore in Fishtown pays homage to a group of young LGBTQ activists, called Check It, who are an all-gay and transgender gang from D.C. (More on them below.)

The mural was created by Baltimore-based street artist, Nether, referencing a photo by photographer M. Holden Warren.

Upon its completion, Nether wrote the following about his new mural on Instagram:

“This mural, titled ‘Stigma’, is part of an ongoing mural series that deals with perception and misunderstanding of the other in the urban environment.”

“In this series I have used text to call it like it is while letting the imagery echo a very human reality that combats it. In this mural the essence of struggle and pride in the imagery is made to create friction or resistance to the text.”

“The fence is an element that I have woven in and out of my work in the past. It represents the physical and metaphorical barriers in our society that bar the marginalized from even fighting for a better lives.”

“The fence is shown mangled and broken to symbolize the hopeful dismantling of these boundaries with the shifting social climate.”

“The figure in the mural is of a young man from the D.C. group ‘Check It’. Check It was started in 2005 by a group of 9th graders who formed together for protection against brutality due to appearance and gender identity. Since then Check It has moved in the direction of fashion design.”

I just absolutely love this mural, LOVE its message, and love that it gave me the opportunity to learn about Check It:

“They’re all gay and transgender people, ages 14 to 22, who have been beaten up, shot, stabbed, and raped. They came together to form Check It, a Washington D.C. gang, to protect each other.” –Fusion.net

Really great write-up on Check It from 2015 over at Fusion.net, which I strongly encourage you to read HERE! Also worth looking out for this Steve Buscemi-produced documentary about the group, which premiered at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival last April!

Last but certainly not least, if this is the first time you’re hearing of the artist Nether, you should know that he’s been putting up similarly amazing work around Philly for about as long as I’ve had this blog… Feel free to check out more of his Philly work HERE!

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