Los Muralistas De El Puente is an intergenerational mural group that works collectively to design and paint murals addressing social justice issues. Our process is collaborative from beginning to end. We spend much of our time drawing and passing our drawings around the table, each artist adding something to another person’s drawing. This creates a visual narrative that has the unique drawing style of each artist woven together into a cohesive story.
Our mural Look! Listen! Speak Up! On Patagonia’s new storefront windows in Williamsburg, is a call to action for El Puente’s Nuestro Aire/Our Air campaign. Our mural addresses many of the causes of the horrible air pollution in Los Sures and begins to imagine solutions.
We began our design process with a neighborhood walk and photo shoot, documenting and observing the effects of pollution and gentrification on South Williamsburg. Inspired by the phrase “Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil,” and its connotation of turning a blind eye to suffering, we worked on drawings representing the neglect and indifference shown to the residents of this neighborhood: highways carrying cars and trucks dividing the neighborhood; the lack of green space and trees that mitigate the effects of pollution; the history of polluting industries just down the street; and the skyrocketing rents that displace longtime residents. Each artist came up with characters that represented this indifference. We listened to oral histories recorded of community residents, read articles and watched videos that put this community’s struggle into a larger context of environmental racism that fuels the current climate crisis.
In our last weeks of design work, we created new characters and scenes in which people were looking, listening and speaking up about the causes of pollution in South Williamsburg and its effects on the people who call this neighborhood home. We named the mural Look! Listen! Speak Up! because the first step in repair is raising awareness and speaking up.
-Vera Weinfield, facilitator/lead muralist
“This is Radical art because we need radical actions!”
Create the change needed for all
The art pieces shown are defined by this poem in which the negative and positive responses to climate change and air pollution are represented. The drawings also represent solutions that could be used to improve our air including ways we could educate our community.
La herramienta más eficiente para combatir el cambio climático eres tú…No hay Planeta B.
Attention: Look! Listen! Speak Up!
Look! Our trees are dying from the pollution in our air. Pollution from factories, and the cars that drive down the BQE through our neighborhood. See these buildings? These streets? They are built by immigrants and people of color. But they cannot live in them because the rent is too high.
WE DEMAND AFFORDABLE HOUSING & GREEN SPACE
Listen! (Cough Cough).We are sick from asthma and respiratory diseases caused by the pollution in our air.
We demand affordable healthcare.
Speak up! Be part of the solution. Join us in our demands, for Nuestro Aire/Our Air!