“Magnitude and Bond”
a collaborative mural by A Womb of Violet Collective (@awombofviolet) Kelley Prevard ( @prevardk) and myself for @fourcornerspublicarts located Halsey st and Brandfor St in Newark, NJ. 2019
This collaborative mural is located on Halsey Street in Newark’s historic downtown and features two key figures, #GladysBarkerGrauer and #BreyaKnight, and imagery that celebrates their significant contributions to the Newark arts and poetry community, using visual language to provide a sense of intergenerational and communal connection as a unifying force and source of power and healing.
At 10 stories high, it is the largest mural in the City of Newark, created by #AWombofViolet, a Black women’s artist collective of writers, poets and visual artists that include Fayemi Shakur, Jasmine Mans, K. Desiree Milwood, Bimpe Fageyinbo, Jillian M. Rock, Shekia Norris, Dr. Antoinette Elllis-Williams, Margie “Mia X” Johnson, Kween Moore, Jennifer Mack-Watkins and muralists Layqa Nuna Yawar and Kelley Prevard.
The imagery features Gladys Barker Grauer - from a photograph by @colleengutwein - watching over the community at large, as Breya, featured in knight armor reminds viewers of the warrior spirit and protective nature of Black women. Below, a young silhouetted girl, Sanaa, reads Lucille Clifton’s poem, “Come celebrate with me”, an inspirational reminder of the resiliency of Black women and girls, resisting erasure of their legacies and cultural contributions. An image featuring two young girls from St. Michel, Haiti photographed by artist Kween Moore during a trip to a local orphanage, gazes intensely at viewers with a sense of agency and inquiry. Symbolism containing themes referencing the painful traumas of slavery and racism are subtly combined with elements of nature, Kente cloth and cowrie shells which lie at the mural’s foundation. The cowrie shells represent the feminine, birth, fertility, and prosperity and were painted by students, children and members of the community.
The title of the mural is inspired by a quote by poet Gwendolyn Brooks: “We are each other’s business; we are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s magnitude and bond.”