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New Mural by Claes Gabriel in West Philadelphia, “Boat People”

August 29, 2020

New mural this week, titled Boat People, by Philly-based artist Claes Gabriel, created with curator Ryan Strand Greenberg and Mural Arts Philadelphia. Located at 47th Street and Woodland Avenue in West Philadelphia, the mural’s design is inspired by the Haitian Flag, where Claes was born in Port-au-Prince.

“Philadelphia is a sanctuary city welcoming refugees and immigrants from around the world,” Claes’ project statement reads. “Boat People captures the journey of individuals who flee their home countries that see Philadelphia as a place to make home. The painting depicts individuals on a crowded boat and central figure wearing a ceremonial white mask. His body contains a boat floating above a sea of red, symbolizing the blood shed from the difficult journey between one’s homeland and adopted home.”

I’ve been a fan of Claes’ work since I first met him as an exhibiting artist at PHL Airport Art, and it’s really exciting to see him move into murals and work for the public space!

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