Thursday, December 29, 2011
Joplin - Interpreting the mural
Inspired by the metamorphosis of butterflies, the myth of the Phoenix, and the capacity for renewal expressed in the imaginations of children, the design is like a short picture story in four chapters.
In the far left panel, a miner standing atop giant crystal formations points out toward the future and a young George Washington Carver examines the roots of a plant specimen. Above the figures is the first part of a quote from Langston Hughes’ poem “In Time of Silver Rain.”
In time of silver rain
Lift silken wings
To catch a rainbow cry.
Dividing this panel from the rest of the mural is a large serpentine shape taken from the Wilders Restaurant neon sign on Main Street. To the right of the Wilders sign, two children sit at a table drawing. Their pictures activate an imaginary landscape that unfolds in front of them, beginning with a small butterfly that floats above the surface of the wall.
At the center of the mural, images made by children in our drawing workshops depict cleanup activities after the tornado. After the challenges of the storm, new flowers bloom, trees sprout new leaves, and children come out to play. Butterflies float magically over the surface of the mural carrying its images within their wings.
In the far right panel, divided from the imaginary landscape by a neon sign inspired by Wilders Restaurant, eagles carved from tree stumps downed during the tornado are illuminated by the light of a Phoenix that has taken flight. Inscribed above the Phoenix is the second part of the quote from the Langston Hughes poem “In Time of Silver Rain.”
And trees put forth
New leaves to sing
In joy beneath the sky.