The Murals of Philadelphia
by Huzaifah Malik & Osman Bangura
Re-PLACE-ing Philadelphia is building an expanded archive of cultural memory that includes multiple histories, re-place-ing the established with new narratives and understandings. Notes consider place via the street, sound, food, trees, and other portals.
In partnership with educator Joshua Block, students from Philadelphia's Science Leadership Academy are creating and publishing their Philadelphia Field Notes. Huzaifah Malik and Osman Bangura share images and reflections on the murals of Philadelphia.
The City of Brotherly Love is being transformed into outdoor museums by its residents. There are thousands of colorful murals in Philadelphia; it’s a challenge to walk through the neighborhoods without passing them.
The residents have been collaborating with the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program to beautify the communities and connect with neighbors. Each mural speaks to each person differently as it brightens and inspire thousands of residents of Philadelphia. The intensity of color and the sheer creativity is the first thing you notice as you walk or drive down the block.
Most of the murals rise above and behind the empty parking lots and trees, making the city more delightful, energetic, and inspirational. While looking at the murals, it makes you think about the location, design, subject, and how it brings the community together in appreciation of who lives there, who they are, and what they value.
Some of the murals portray the history and culture of African Americans. This displays the diversity of the city, and how impacted it is from important times in history like Reconstruction and the Great Migration, which brought many African Americans from the South to the North, occupying the greater areas of Philadelphia, and many other places on the East Coast.
It’s interesting to see how cultures are so intertwined now, a collective mix of African-American and European cultural roots.