August 16, 2008

A mural for Indian victims

A stunning Native mural replaces decades old eyesoreCombine a City of Minneapolis graffiti elimination grant, a strong desire to remember a victim of a long-ago serial killing and mix in what some call a “cowboy” neighborhood and add a headstrong American Indian artist. The result is a stunning 40-foot mural coming to life in South Minneapolis.

This mural is the Ventura Village neighborhood’s effort to eliminate a longstanding eyesore blighting a hidden corner of the neighborhood that has been the taggers’ bulletin board for decades. Robert Albee, Ventura Village’s elected secretary wrote two grants—one to the City of Minneapolis and another to the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC) to secure the funds to hire artist Lisa Brown to paint this mural. The painting honors the memory of Angie White Bird, a young Bad River tribal member who became a victim of a serial killer very near to the spot where the mural is being painted. Ms. Brown spoke with family members and received their blessing to honor Angie’s memory with this painting. Her mural also honors more than 55 homeless Native people who have died in this vicinity during the past two decades.
Comment:  This is something you don't see every day: a work of art that honors actual Indians who died relatively recently. Not the generic half-naked "savages" of the distant past. Brown's mural reminds us that Indians are alive today, with problems we still haven't dealt with.

Hmm. Maybe Charles Trimble could visit the neighborhood and yell "Get over it!" to the empty air. Maybe that would stop the serial killer and keep the homeless people healthy. But somehow I doubt it.

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