I don’t give street art the credit it deserves. Not because I don’t appreciate art, but because I just never notice it. This is less of a commentary on the art and more of a commentary on my monkey mind, always racing after something or another.
This weekend—I don’t know if it was the weather or actually being on time for once—but as I walked to my yoga class, a mural actually stopped me in my tracks. What was most striking was the vivid blue colors. Blue has long fascinated me because of its ability to represent the clearest skies, to the deepest darkest depths of the ocean, it’s such a versatile color! There the subject stood, an indigenous woman, arms outstretched like Jesus, standing under a waterfall, cloaked in blue, waist-deep in beautiful clear water. It was a powerful message in itself, a vision of female empowerment and strength, but also an homage to the water protectors fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline. And although not part of the mural itself, the “What a time to be happy,” somehow added to it as well. It was an unexpected find, and what shone through was how lovingly this artist had painted.
It’s particularly important for West Adams, a neighborhood thought of as unappealing and undesirable. If you’ve ever driven through this part of town, you’ve probably rolled up your windows and locked the doors. Maybe you’ve regarded the barred windows and graffitied walls with disdain. Perhaps you’ve clutched your purse a little tighter as you walked its streets, or double-checked the car alarm after you parked. But you’ve probably never taken the time to notice the love behind the ‘hood. Next time you’re in such a place, try to see something different: The freshly baked bread that is lovingly made by the bakers at the panaderia, or the mothers who lovingly hold their child’s hand as they walk down the street.
Try to see something other than the obvious and the superficial, because one day you’re going to want the same from someone else.