Signs Of Solidarity

A Public Art Project in Protest of Hate and Divisiveness

Kees Holterman at Space 1026

Kees Holterman at Space 1026 (Arch street between 10th and 11th streets)

Artist Statement: “The concept of my banner is to promote the fundamental aspects of peaceful protest. There are ways to exclaim ideas or passions without violent vocabulary or actions. In the midst of a loud, frantic , and most often times hateful post-election environment, this banner is meant to shed light on using reason and peaceful methods to protest and stand-up for what you believe in. ‘Not Silent, Not Violent.'”

Blur at Gravy Studio and Gallery

Blur at Gravy Studio and Gallery (on 2nd street between Girard avenue and Poplar street)

Artist Statement: “‘Seeing hate for what it is; unwelcome here. Seeing love for what it is; within every one of us.’ The goal of my message is to show the importance of seeing things as they truly are — unfiltered. How rare that seems to be. We, as a society, tend to only focus on the negatives. I think it’s vital not to ignore all the hate in our country. However, I think it’s of equal importance to remember all the good that happens here too by ordinary people doing extraordinary things. This project reminded me of that; a collection of people coming together to remind our country of love and unity, in a time we need to stand up against hate — I wanted to be a part of that.”

Joe Boruchow

Joe Boruchow at Frankford avenue and Hagert street

Artist Statement: “‘Awash In Effluent’ effluent |ˈefloōənt|nounliquid, waste or sewage discharged into a river or the sea : the bay was contaminated with the effluent from an industrial plant. Soon after election day, as I was brainstorming ideas in my notebook, I wrote the phrase, ‘awash in effluent.’ It stuck with me because it described exactly how I felt watching the President-elect make his foul appointments and spew bellicosity and narcissism every time he opened his cloaca of a mouth or used his rectal Twitter feed. And because they are all such rich shits, I love the punning relationship between effluent and affluent. So, for my ‘Sign of Solidarity’ I wanted to show people that they are not alone in feeling ‘Awash in Effluent.’ Plus, it goes great with my previous piece, Trump Shit Bigly!”

Aubrie Costello

Aubrie Costello at Master and American streets

Artist Statement: “My best friend’s husband is an undocumented immigrant who has lived & worked in the US for over 15 years. She is a US citizen. They are now going through the arduous, emotional legal process of trying to get him his citizenship. He left Honduras when he was 22 years old to come here to make money for his family, specifically his beloved mother and younger brother, who would remain in the dangerous, poverty-stricken country without him. His father, a truck driver, was murdered in Honduras before he came here to the US. His baby brother, who he tried to get to come here many times over the past 15 years ‘illegally’ and legally, was murdered just this past year, shot by a man who tried to steal his cellphone from him as he locked up his shop. Because he is undocumented, he could not fly back to Honduras to attend his own brother’s funeral. He had to watch it on FaceTime. We held him up as he wailed in front of a cellphone held in front of his face, watching the casket rolled out and his mother sitting along in front of it. In his life, he has watched horrific things in his home country, lost his father, his little brother, and saw people get killed on his trek to the United States. But he remains to be one of the most hard-working, selfless, thoughtful, gentle men I have ever met. He is my brother. This phrase is taken from a longer quote by my best friend during a candid conversation we had where I asked her what she would say to other undocumented immigrants facing the same challenge they’re facing. ‘We may act quietly and with kindness,’ she said, ‘but that kindness does not indicate weakness.’ She is scared in the face of this new administration, so is he. There’s no guarantee things will work out for them. But together, in love, they are brave and as she simply puts it, ‘trying to fight for what is right.'”

Michelle Angela Ortiz at Johnny Brenda’s

Michelle Angela Ortiz at Johnny Brenda’s (Frankford and Girard avenues)

Artist Statement: “As a visual artist/ skilled muralist/ community arts educator I use my art as a vehicle to represent people and communities whose histories are often lost or co-opted. My works tells stories using richly crafted and emotive imagery to claim and transform spaces into a visual affirmation that reveals the strength and spirit of the community. At this moment when our communities of color are at a higher risk of being targeted in this country, it is crucial that we remember how beautiful, resilient, and powerful we are. That when others fail to see our light, we continue to shine brighter and be a beacon to our families, our children, and our communities.”

Seper A. Torcasio at Headhouse Square

Seper A. Torcasio at Headhouse Square (2nd and Pine streets)

Artist Statement: “My peice is inspired by the Keith Haring banner that was placed on the 990 building for truth to power show. I made the silhouette of our country out of the positive words in my message. I clearly want my canvas to represent the message to the fullest. Im not finished yet but here is my progress.”

Yuenglingblingbling at Tattooed Mom

Yuenglingblingbling at Tattooed Mom (on South street between 5th and 6th streets)

Artist Statement: “The day after the election I felt an overwhelming amount of shock met with sheer disbelief. But in a moment where I felt utterly lost and hopeless I was quickly overcome by the strength and courage of those who had much more at stake than I did. We can’t go back and change the outcome of the election, but we can make sure that we stand up, speak out and are heard every day rather than sit by idly watching the next four years unfold. We need to continue to act when we see injustice; this is not the time to turn a blind eye because this isn’t about the singular, it is about the collective. This election can be a catalyst to create positive change from the ground up, but only if we work together. Historically, grassroots movements have paved the way for social change by organizing and taking a stand for their own and other’s rights on a national and local level. So it is our job to continue to face hatred with open eyes and immense love as we work together for progress for all people. There is power in numbers and I have hope and trust in my fellow Philadelphians to challenge those who fight to bring us down.”


CURVE at 13th and Gerritt streets

Artist Statement: “In the early 1930s, the artist Ben Shahn made a poster with this quote from Bartolomeo Vanzetti, who, in 1927, along with Nicola Sacco were pinned and then executed for a crime they didn’t commit. I used Shahn’s unique lettering style. Ben Shahn wrote the quote with misspellings. Vanzetti had a thick Italian accent. The words feel powerful and very relevant today. Especially when I learned about what happened to these men. 1920s, Sacco and Vanzetti were immigrants, and also labor rights and anti-war activists. Here is the quote, made before they were both executed under a false accusation, amidst worldwide protest.”

Kimberly Connerton at Paradigm Gallery and Studio

Kimberly Connerton at Paradigm Gallery and Studio (at 4th and Fitzwater streets)

Artist Statement: “Sometimes I meditate on everyone in the world being safe and free. This started to happen after I watched a 60 minutes episode about children who were raised to perform sex acts on adults in certain cultures. I was shocked and felt afraid for those children and everyone who was in some kind of slavery. When I thought of the word safe my mind was transported to a beautiful, warm, place that had a burnt orange earth, bright sun, and the bluest sky. When I first moved to Sydney, Australia I found that place I had imagined. Silently, chants I said when I walked around Sydney are now uttered in Philadelphia, “May every living being be safe and free”. Considering what is happening in the world now creating safe spaces filled with art creates a wider more inclusive space for everyone to live in.”

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