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New South Philly Mural Asks What Is The Future of Migration in the US?

November 17, 2019

What is the future of migration in Philadelphia, and in the United States in general?

That’s the question that guided the creation of a new mural at 4th and Mifflin streets in South Philly. Designed and painted by lead artist Layqa Nuna Yawar with students and youth from the neighborhood, the project was created with support from Mural Arts Philadelphia and includes a digital element made with web developer Ricardo Cabret.

“This is a question with evolving answers, but one thing is true: migration is an act of imagination and resilience, the project’s website reads. “Up against geography, language, and other challenges, migrants’ imaginations create cities, communities, and culture wherever they go. In this multimedia project from Ecuadorian muralist and self-described migrant Layqa Nuna Yawar, middle school and high school students dove into these complex questions. After all, these dreams are what helped to create the city of Philadelphia, and continue to shape it to this day.”

This prompt was presented to a group of local youth in a series of art and code based workshops. Youth from Mural Arts ongoing programs at Southeast by Southeast community center and Furness High School learned about the history of immigration in Philadelphia through an artistic lens, reflecting on personal and external narratives. Most of the participants share a recent or generational migrant experience in the U.S. All of them are tasked with the weight of our future, and all of them have a vision that is as global as their dreams.

The youths’ ideas and artwork informed the final mural design, all of which is archived online at migrantimaginary.muralarts.org, built with web developer Ricardo Cabret who also taught students the fundamentals of HTML coding. It’s a really cool resource that allows you to see all the thought and inspiration that was put into this finished mural!

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