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Streets Dept Walls Year 2 at Fashion District

February 2, 2021

Very excited to bring Streets Dept Walls back for a second year at Fashion District, this time offering three new murals from three incredible Philly-based artists!

This year’s artists include two for whom this is their first-ever mural, Shanina Dionna and Matthew Raghunauth, and a muralist I’ve been hoping to work with for a while, Kyle Confehr. You can find their three new murals now through September 2021 (possibly longer) on the Concourse Level of the Fashion District by entering through 9th and Market Streets and heading downstairs.

Read more about each of the artists mural’s below:

Shanina Dionna – “The Big Clean Up, 2020”

Artist Statement: “The Big Clean Up” is a community-led group of local artists, entrepreneurs and, influencers who thrive in putting forth their efforts in cleaning, revitalizing and healing underprivileged and disenfranchised communities. As a united front, their ability to bring like minded people together for a greater cause has been the foundation for change that they are seeking in Philadelphia. Their efforts serve as a form of proactive problem solving in our Black communities. During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement, I recently joined their efforts during the third monthly gathering – this time in Germantown. This mural is my love letter to TBCU. It serves to help amplify the message to respect the place(s) we call home. To take ownership and accountability for our actions. To honor our peers giving back and building community; and to illuminate the philanthropic pursuits of our inner city youth. The young, Black boy, Xavier, who takes center stage in this piece inspired me deeply during our time picking up trash in the local neighborhood. He had such vigor and charisma that made cleaning in the summer heat bearable and even fun. When I acknowledged and praised his efforts openly, his father, Alonzo, let me know he was working hard because pizza was waiting for him after it was done. Smart kid.

This mural references an original image by photographer, Cathie Berrey. The addition of ivy foliage frames the portrait – representing a sense of protection for this work and the people doing it. This was inspired by Alyssa Rainville, a manager I have befriended at Vault + Vine in East Falls – a local floral studio. She shared with me the symbolism behind the poison ivy plant. It is a defender of the land and creator of boundaries. This plant compels us to be aware and deliberate when we’re in its territory; and so it is.

THANK YOU to the incredible team spearheading this positive work in Philly during this time, “just cause”. And to the sanitation workers taking safety measures due to COVID-19, we stand with you. Visit @thebigcleanupphilly on Instagram for upcoming events and to learn how you may get involved.

Kyle Confehr – “I hope you’re ok”

Artist Statement: “I hope you’re ok” is an assurance to the viewer that it’s ok to detach, re-center and heal yourself. “I hope you’re ok” is here to provide a moment to the viewer to get lost in its lines looking for something arbitrary or meaningful. Enjoy this moment for yourself. 

Matthew Raghunauth – “Node”

Artist Statement: Community is at the center of this mural. The artist is depicted through the symbolism in this composition. Virgo, Aries, and Cancer symbols are seen in the hands of the nymphs holding them, observing them like treasure. The girls pictured are together, but alone in a field, or in space, or some vacuum, deliberating over their findings. Some look to astrology like a compass, others for daily insight, and others view it as hogwash. But to the artist, the zodiac represents abstract concepts that pique his interest. Astrology is just one way the artist connects to his community, but he is interested in how others connect to theirs, and how he might as well.

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