JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — From silos off the Hart Bridge to a painted concrete lot in a school yard, there are dozens of works of art on display across Jacksonville.
Tatiana Kitchen is one of the artists featured in an incredible mural easily visible to drivers off the Arlington Expressway.
She painted the letter “O” and described her work to Action News Jax Anchor Tenikka Hughes.
Kitchen said, “Most of my characters that are within my paintings, their skin color is blue or it’s any other color besides norm. And I do that because I want to portray them almost being divine in nature.”
Her muse for the Arlington “O” was Kandice Clark, a local artisan and founder of the Black Mural Map that Kitchen’s work is now a part of.
It was launched last July in the midst of social unrest following a national racial reckoning and the COVID-19 pandemic that has disproportionately impacted people of color.
The Black Mural Map brings attention to murals created by Black artists or those that feature Black people.
Clark said, “I just want that connection of knowing, like there are artists out here that look like me that are working, but there’s also imagery, positive imagery of people who look like me.”
Kitchen said, “I feel like seeing these murals of ourselves, it helps us to feel like we matter because we’re seeing ourselves portrayed in the community as to where a lot of times in media, in general, we don’t see ourselves portrayed, or when we do it’s in a very stereotypical way.”
The murals not only showcase the talent of all the artists involved, they display the rich diversity of the Black experience, which is woven into the story of our entire community.
Kitchen said, “It helps me to feel like I’m a part of something bigger. It helps me to feel like the art that I create is not created in vain. Instead, it’s created not only for myself and for the uplifting of myself, but it’s uplifting an entire community.”
The art is bold, reflective, expressive, relatable, unassuming, beautiful and real.
Her mural can be considered an ode to Arlington.
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Clark said, “I think it just builds community. Like, just having beautiful art is impactful. They use art in medicine. It’s powerful.” It is also for everyone to enjoy.
Clark is working on adding more sites to the Jacksonville Black Mural Map.
She hopes to help create similar maps for cities across the country.
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