Mural Director: Eli Lippert, assisted by Priya Handa
Students from San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services.
Location: San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services.
On the far left side of the wall, along the whole length of the wall is a swan fleeing from a cage. The youth felt this image was symbolic in representing the need for freeing themselves in order to experience the changes of life. This group had the choice of picking amongst several birds and their symbolic meanings, but they chose the Swan. The Swan represents grace, beauty, and self growth which resonated with the youth the most. As we move towards the right along the mural, there are butterflies closer to the top. The butterfly represents the change humans go through and the beauty of the end product. Two artists from the group looked up butterflies they wanted depicted in the mural and drew their rendering of it. As we move further along the right, we see the caterpillar from which the butterfly comes from, symbolizing the different phases of change in life that are parallel to the metamorphosis a caterpillar goes through.
In the center of the mural there are wolves running together with hares to represent the concept of prey and predator running together as spirits. The youth discussed that seeing prey and predator get along is very rare and it's something they wish for their community as well, especially during the changes the youth are experiencing in different aspects of their life. The group of wolves represent the pack that wolves maintain while traveling and hunting. The wolves have furs with different shades to represent the different communities and backgrounds that the youth and their families represent. This was done in hopes of creating and image that is inclusive of all groups in the area. The hares can be seen running in between the wolves to reinforce the idea and wish for opposing groups to come together and run in the same direction.
To the farthest right side of the mural, behind the stairs, there is a large lotus welcoming the doorway. Several of the artists came together and agreed this flower was very representative of how they felt. The lotus is known for growing in the muddiest and dirtiest environments, but staying pure and growing with beauty and elegance. The group agreed that this is symbolic because each child is going through a different experience but it is important to not let their environment change who they are or how they feel about themselves, but rather to keep growing and striving despite how 'muddy' their surroundings.
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“My social responsibility as a public artist is to reflect the diversity of a community.” - Susan Cervantes