In July, we invited all faith communities in ECMN to participate in the creation of a mural on the ECMN office building. This project, which came out of the work of the discernment committees, was led by the Rev. Canon Robert Two Bulls, who said,
"Creating public art and murals are great ways to stimulate dialog. One good example is the lettering of “Black Lives Matter” on streets in big bold font. The dialog that emerged so far has spanned across the spectrum of racial relations. From positive conversations to individuals trying to paint over the letters while yelling “All lives matter!” Art creates dialog. Art raises awareness. Art can heal."
In July, ECMN's south wall was joyously swarmed by artists armed with scaffolding, rollers, cans, ideas, curiosity, and generosity. Led by Dimitri Kadiev, a Los Angeles-based itinerant evangelist muralist, along with Joshua Grace from Philadelphia, Rufo Noriega, also from Los Angeles, and Cameron (Ronnie) Jarvis, a former ECMN team member now residing in Philadelphia, in the course of about two weeks, the team gathered stories from communities around the diocese, collecting symbols from the many different cultures that make up our family, and created an exuberant celebration of Minnesota on the office's south wall.
Listen to Rufo explain the concept behind the mural: the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, called Bdote, the birthplace of the Dakota people, which acts as a metaphor for the coming together of the diverse people and cultures of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota. In addition to depictions of flora and fauna from around these lands, the mural includes hidden words and symbols, as well as images important to some of our members: the Ojibwe Medicine Wheel, the Sankofa Bird, the Virgin de Guadalupe.
As the artists worked, they were joined by friends and colleagues both inside and outside of the church, as well as members of the North Minneapolis community where our offices are situated, who picked up a brush or shared ideas that made their way into the mural. Bishop Loya reminds us that the mural is a reflection of the sacred place in which we're rooted, and God's sacred call to us to build the Beloved Community, here in the vibrant heart of North Minneapolis and in the beautiful place we call Minnesota. When you're in the cities next, be sure to stop by, bear witness to the mural, and join the conversation!