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New Mural Reflects Feelings of “Futility” In Our Continually Unprecedented Times

August 21, 2021

New mural completed this month by Brooklyn-based artist, Alex Derwick and legendary Philly-based muralist, Meg Saligman located on Bainbridge Street between 8th and 9th Streets in Bella Vista reflects on our continually unprecedented times.

Titled “Futility,” at a quick glance the mural appears to represent a simple scene of nature with flowering tree limbs in the wind. But a longer look drew my eyes to the inorganic materials to the right of the piece: blue painter’s tape holding up one of the dislodged tree flowers in a top corner and a note near the ground that reads, “What remains?,” in a bed of windblown petals.

I reached out to Meg over text to learn more, and she responded: “It is about how we are feeling right now in summer 2021. Things are not gonna go back to the way they were before, we can try to piece things together – yet we are now somewhere unfamiliar.” Meg added, “Oversized art supplies try to hold together a billowing blossom, yet it is not working. Same tools, different world.”

Alex elaborated further over Instagram direct message: “Meg Saligman and I were going back and forth figuring out what we were feeling and what imagery helped frame that tone. We ended up talking about loss, and Meg plucked part of an old design I was working on, and we collaborated from there. We felt the Dogwood Flower blowing in the breeze was bold, a bit cartoony and still pretty sad feeling. Honestly we were also excited to make a mural about sadness and loss and the futility of trying to fix the passing of time, most murals are about uplifting messages and celebration, but I totally feel seen listening to a sad song. Let’s acknowledge we are sad sometimes! And it’s okay.”

This mural is the latest in the series of sporadically rotating murals that have adorned this wall outside of the Meg Saligman Studios over the past several years. Some of those previous murals include 2020’s “Hugging Pile” and “Vote” and a 2018 artwork that predicted the Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl win. I really like how Meg uses this wall as a space to reflect the moment. It’s all at once healing, restorative, reflective, and energizing.

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