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Street Art Legend, Faith XLVII, Creates Massive New Mural in West Philly

October 10, 2019

(Photos by Streets Dept Contributor Eric Dale)

In LOVE with this!

Over the last several weeks, internationally acclaimed street artist Faith XLVII created her first mural in Philly, with Mural Arts Philadelphia. Located at 39th and Market streets in West Philly, the mural, titled The Silent Watcher, is 11,000 square feet and stands 19 stories tall with a series of lights that keep the image visible after dark.

If you’ve somehow never heard of Faith XLVII before, she’s a visual artist from South Africa who’s currently based in Los Angeles. “Through her work she attempts to disarm the strategies of global realpolitik, in order to advance the expression of personal truth,” her bio reads. “In this way, her work is both an internal and spiritual release that speaks to the complexities of the human condition, its deviant histories, and existential search.”

Faith XLVII’s West Philly mural features a woman looking down with a caring gaze. “The use of geometric lines, a color gradient, and contrasting gold accents bring the viewer’s eye upward, bringing a sense of hope and movement toward the future, as well as a calm, enduring strength in the current moment,” the mural’s project page explains. “Faith XLVII was inspired by the cultural, historical, and social aspects of the neighborhood, and included the words ‘Philadelphia Maneto’ from the City’s official seal, meaning ‘Let Brotherly Love Endure.’”

The mural also includes the phase, “optimism is a strategy for making a better future.”

I first came across Faith XLVII’s work when I visited Portland, Oregon in 2015. It stuck out from so many of the other murals in Portland for a few reasons. Her work is brilliantly painterly. She translates subtle body and facial features so well to larger scale works. And so many of her murals seem to just float there, feeling almost weightless. I’m so pumped Mural Arts was able to bring her to Philly, and give her such a massive wall!

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