Updated: Jul 22, 2020
At the beginning of April I felt lost. I was living back home and taking classes online at Wellesley College while a global health crisis unfolded outside my door. Things turned around when I received an opportunity to be a social media intern at Mosaicli. I was interested in the company because of its commitment to unite teams by supporting individuals in sharing their stories through art. As an art history student and artist myself, I deeply value the power of art as a universal communication mechanism for people from different backgrounds.
Art history allows us to understand the historical value and the social impact a work of art has on people. One of my favorite periods in art history that I’ve studied is the Mexican Muralist Movement, which was a post-revolutionary public art movement between the 1920’s -1930’s. This innovative movement was born under the patronage of Education Minister Jose Vasconcelos, who commissioned the most talented artists of the time to represent Mexican culture and history. Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros, also known as the “Los Tres Grandes,” filled the blank walls of public buildings with colorful murals depicting the post-revolutionary life they hoped for.
These murals served as educational and political messages that supported a call for social and economic equality between the Mexican people. The murals solidified a new national identity, providing a framework for the ideals and values of equality that would guide post-revolutionary Mexico. Mexican people were able to connect with each other by seeing their shared experiences represented through art.
The murals depicted scenes and portraits of everyday life and people. By seeing their life painted on the walls of a national building, the Mexican people were given a symbolic promise that their life was part of the country’s identity. Murals allow art to be inclusive and accessible. This form of public art makes it easy to bring communities together by creating a shared viewing experience. They allow all people to be both the subjects of the artwork, and its audience.
Mosaicli Murals help teams create collaborative art that allows people to connect with each other in a similar way. One of the projects our team has been working on this summer is a Black Lives Matter mural called “Stand Together.” We’re inviting community members to join us in Oakland to paint and add their own mosaic piece to the mural.
When I look at the Black Lives Murals being created across the country, I see the power of art to teach, change, and provoke new ideas to make the world a better place. Although these murals might not immediately provoke social change, they promise that no one is alone in the fight against systemic racism in our country. They allow social justice to take center stage and drive the fight towards equality. Like the murals from the Mexican Muralists Movement, they act as accessible educational resources that promote the necessity for intersectional equality.
It is our social duty to fight for equality, so how can we use art to fight for it?