Saturday, June 14, 2008

Anarachy, art and hope

I started the week in San Francisco, touring the Mission's murals with a friend. I ended the week taking pictures of peonies in full bloom dans le Jardin Bontanique de Montreal. (Look for some of those pics in a future post.)

Yes, it was a good week, my first real week off from school. Here are some highlights of my Mission mural walk:

This mural, painted on a garage door in Balmy Ave., is a tribute to women artists. Frida, I recognized, but not the rest.

Across the alley is this compelling portrait. That's my friend Nancy coming face to face with it.

The next mural, it turns out, illustrates an apocalyptic poem by William Butler Yeats:

...Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world...

(here's where I cut out some of the gratuitously gory get to these lines, which have always seemed to me to speak of politics and religion...especially in combination)

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Anyway, I like this mural's colorful bugs (the proverbial cockroaches, mayhaps?) crawling around the scattered grey (oh, no, are we all dead?) human forms. Instead of "The Second Coming," let's just call this one "After Global Warming."

I hate to end on such a down note, so let me close with something more hopeful. While viewing the murals, we met these lively 8th graders on a field trip. Their teachers at St. Paul's Epicopal in Oakland had asked them to pick a mural and write about its message. They described this one as "Breaking the chains of oppression."

Here they are, getting into character with the mural: Nicholas Piucci, Emily Nguyen, Rafa Moraga, Bruce Lien and Max "Cool Kid" Ornstil.

Power to the people!

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