This mural digs into local history to depict a trio of hikers who became the first women through-hikers on the Long Trail in 1927. They also ignited a storm of media attention by choosing to hike without male chaperones -- unheard of at the time. These young trailblazers demonstrate values of self-determination, independence and a love of the outdoors which can continue to inspire a new generation. The youth of today are represented by an emotionally arresting portrait of a young woman who gazes into the future, with the stalwart travelers at her back.
The mural is tied directly to our landscape by a topographical map of our area that will overlay the entire design. The lines of the map will interplay with the characters and faces, while being recognizable to those familiar with our area.
The mural's title, "Liberty," references both the freedom we can find in charting our own path and spending time in nature, but also celebrates that 2020 is the 100th anniversary of women being granted the right to vote in America.
ABOUT THE PROPOSED WORK (by the artist):*
On the corner of Beaver Street, as sentinels, the silhouettes of the hikers will greet people and the blank sign post will point downhill, suggesting that there is more to be seen that way. The outline of the figures shows the space they formerly occupied; to represent their absence but also the lasting impression they made upon the map. The blankness of their shape may also pique passerby curiosity and provoke them to slow down and figure out what they are doing there.
Next, the eye encounters papers that have taken flight in the direction the sign is pointing, seemingly blown hither by the winds of change. They could be read as birds flying, telegraphs, letters, pages of a book, communication from the past to the present; any number of translations could be read when viewing these visual metaphors and those meanings will be deciphered according to what each viewer perceives them to be. The artist means them to primarily represent the concept of liberty, which is the central overall theme of the mural.
At the lower corner of this portion of the wall, we encounter our trio of stalwart journeyers in a moment of relaxation on the trail; enjoying a respite and a song to rally their spirits, perhaps. This may remind folks to do the same; take a moment out of life to just sit and sing a song or to take a moment to contemplate where they are on their own journeys. This portrait, like the others of the hikers, is based on a historic photograph.
When we round the corner of the wall, we will see the large dreaming face of a young woman, the main character and subject of concern. She is slightly transparent revealing some part of the topographical lines describing her face. This youth is wearing a bandana to evoke the “Rosy the Riveter” archetype as well as connect her with her sisters from the past who wore head scarves as they hiked their way through the green mountains. The individual I’ve taken inspiration from for the character is a hardscrabble young woman who is actually a farm hand that I know, living in a tiny house without running water or electricity down by Dorset. In the painting, her face is raised to the sky as if looking for answers. In her expression we can read not only determination but possibility. It as if she is pondering how differently her life would be a century ago, even as she looks to the future.
Finally, off to the right as the wall again reduces in size, we see the backs of our backpackers; gaily continuing their wonderful adventure on the long trail. They will serve as an open conclusion which could also deliver an invitation for other women to embark upon their own heroine’s journey with confidence and stride.
To her left our trio of steadfast backpackers consult their compass and map as though carefully charting the way for future women. Their location in the composition is intentional; meant to further emphasize their support for the youth who could be seen as a modern version of themselves. They literally have her back.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Prior to creating the street artist persona LMNOPI in 2009, she has been a community organizer, humanitarian worker & civilly disobedient activist over the last four decades, standing elbow to elbow with the people & communities she depicts in her work. Her skillful brushwork & signature palette lend her works of art an unmistakable timbre. A terrain of strength and humor, defiance and resilience, love and bravery emanate from the faces of the women and children she paints.
From the artist: "When I approach a new wall I ask myself, what will have the biggest impact from a distance; how can I draw the viewer in to have a closer look? The most successful murals, in my opinion, embrace simplicity. One or two images painted large scale; avoiding too much complexity in the composition. I think many a muralist’s downfall is to try to do too much in a wall and then the whole thing loses its impact. If a mural has large faces, for example, that read from a distance, people will be impacted whether they are near or far from the wall. Perhaps they will feel compelled to enter into the mural to investigate the smaller details; that is where the complexity reads well; be it patterning from a macro view of a leaf or a detailed topographical map of the area. Simplicity in the color palette is also a hallmark of my work. When used properly, color can really pop out. Too much color, however, can dull the overall composition as all the colors compete for attention.
Murals have a way of bringing vitality and energy to a town and can uplift a community. Public art occupies the commons, and as such ought to inhabit a sort of emotional common ground which can serve to unite people across social, economic and political spectrums.
We often hear about our forefathers; this Wilmington mural would be dedicated to our foremothers.
I welcome the opportunity to grace your town’s wall with what I believe will be a wonderful dedication to Women in this, the 100th year anniversary of our right to vote!
*Bear in mind that the photos of the proposed mural represent a concept design proposal that will be subject to modifications in the final design; it is intended to give a sense of the finished product and the artists' intent, but is not itself a finished product!