Faced with what seemed an impossible task, artist Jason Botkin and I met in the kiosk; the center of all activities in the “Water is One” project. Alarm was in the air, but sobriety outplayed as we contemplated the challenge of finishing the top section of the Dome, with time rapidly running out.
Eleven days of grueling work under the sun had taken its toll on the whole team, and with less than ten days left, we faced the possibility that the crowning circle would rest unfinished. So, Jason and I promoted a conversation with various members of the crew, with the goal of finding a solution. The thought of leaving the top unfinished was heartbreaking, but the undertaking was hard and risky. Through a process of heated brainstorming and safety considerations, we finally landed on a solution, and Jason stepped up to the plate.
Days later, the air beneath the shadow of this great structure hung thick with the incense of copal, the vibration of the armadillo shell, mixed with powerful melodious prayer. Don Manuel Rodríguez, Capitan General of the indigenous “Conchero” dancers, was leading his group in the blessing of each artist and mural, rounding about the Dome in a clockwise circle describing wholeness. Apprehension and uncertainty had transformed into unrestrained celebration upon the completion of our herculean collective task…on time and in excellent form!
A natural question arose; what possesses one to take a project of this sort on?
The answers come easily to those involved. This work offers a maximum intensity of life experience, while engaging the community with a meaningful dialogue. Each brushstroke promotes a contemplative state on the search for personal and collective identity. All artworks express commitment to the survival of humanity in the face of the global environmental threats to our precious water and ecosystems. Every voluntary participant represent an expansion in the exploration of cultural freedom. We did it to inspire the positive transformation of our reality, we did it because it’s good and because we can. And we did!
Among the dozens of generous participants, I wish to write about the contribution of my friend Jason Botkin: his daily sweeping of the floor at the artists’ shared house, the long hot days dangling from the end of a rope up in the sky, the losing of seven kilos over three weeks of hard work, and the passionate way he plead his case to finish the dome.
Yes, we were together in front of the kiosk, joining hands when agreement was found, despite the feelings of discomfort some had in the safety risks involved. And we shaped a magical pact between warriors. Jason took the challenge and manifested the spirit of the project as a whole: to offer talent, life and resources in the creation of something impeccable, to gift an example of extraordinary dreams made manifest, to actively foster a deeply cohesive communal creation.
There are great works of urban art in the world today. Every aficionado holds in their mind a prioritized list of favorite pieces. On my subjective list, our Dome is in first place with its celestially vaulted sphere planted firmly on the ground, connecting the lives of heaven and earth by the thread of a Foucault’s pendulum suspended in the air. This is the poem that embodies the “Water is One” spirit, which is also the poem that our ancestors left to give cohesion to the many Mexican identities: “In the navel of the Moon, in the center of the Earth, where we offer our hearts to the Sun”.
This majestic mural of murals – itself a piece composed of many pieces – is a meta-narrative defining a new yet paradoxically ancient paradigm: inspire the people to exercise its collective power to create and transform reality, and how this is far greater than anyone can achieve by working for himself.
Founder, Nueve Arte Urbano
WE could also use this quote perhaps From a Cry for Justice, a booklet/ pamphlet edited by Leslie F. Orear, in 1972:
The mural movement…is a celebration of love, laced with anger; a communication of history focused on tomorrow; a record of the struggle re-strengthened by new purpose; a reception for the people’s heroes containing a challenge to be ourselves heroic. By finding and fulfilling this role, the mural movement has given new meaning to art, new meaning to artists. It has expanded the struggle for civil rights, for human rights, from the streets to the walls of the community, where it proudly holds a mirror up to human nature both as a record of the past and as a target for the future.
Really interesting article on “meta-art”. The term does exist, though few outside the circles of the hallowed halls of the very esoteric “Fine Arts” actually understand it, and those on the inside seem at odds with each other. Over to you 😉
here’s a more positive take on the subject you might find interesting…it’s way more up our mutual alleys!