SAN FRANCISCO, Cal. — From New York to Los Angeles, protest art has come front and center since last summer’s protests.
They have served as memorials and tributes. However, two women want to move past the pain and spark a dialogue of empowerment and achievement. They are doing so by recognizing a misunderstood and controversial era in black history through art.
It’s been a long time coming, but muralist, Rachel Wolfe-Goldsmith is putting the finishing touches on a piece of history.
“There’s not a lot of monuments to the Black Panthers and there’s not a lot of recognition of the women of the Black Panther party and what a huge, massive role that they played,” the muralist, Wolfe-Goldsmith, states.
Formed in the late nineteen sixties in Oakland, California, the Black Panther party rallied for equality and helped communities.
The owner of the home, Jilchristina Vest said, “These people were clothing people, feeding people, educating them. These were humanitarians.”
After last summer, Vest knew it was time to pay tribute to the party.
Vest detailed, “I started thinking about the invisibility of black women with Brianna Taylor and Sandra Bland and I wanted to figure out something that I could do.”
Enter muralist, Wolfe-Goldsmith and her team who transformed the side of Vest’s house to a tribute to the women who made up 70% of the party.
“It shows that we’re here, that all of the work that our ancestors and those who came before us did, matters and that it happened,” Wolfe-Goldsmith said.
A team member and muralist, Zoe Boston told Ivanhoe, “I do believe that art has the power to change people’s perspectives.”
Wolfe-Goldsmith contributed to that idea by stating, “I had three people come up to this mural and walk away yelling ‘I’m black and I’m proud’.”
The mural has taken three months to paint. Over 270 names of former black panthers frame the images.
Happy with the mural, Vest stated, “it’s that honoring that’s really important.”
Boston further stated, “When I look up at this mural, I see power, I see community.”
One of the advisors to the mural project was Ericka Huggins who was a member of the party for 14 years.
It was important for them to have the blessing of the women who are a part of the Black Panther movement. The mural will now be a permanent addition to the Oakland home.