The University of Chicago Magazine June 1996
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Life Lessons

Where There Is Discord, Harmony: The Power of Art (1991)

Painted on the west wall of One Artist Row-a building of art studios and businesses on East 71st Street-this was the third in a series of murals created by the South Shore Arts Enterprise. After a brainstorming committee decided the piece should highlight the building's purpose and reflect the importance of art in all aspects of culture, lead artists Gude and Marcus Akinlana, assistant Ivan Watkins, and 11 local teenage apprentices set to work. Days began with set-up time, followed by a brief meditation, discussion, or lesson, and a harambee-an African-inspired "coming together" cheer.

The spiral dominating the wall symbolizes the cycle of death and rebirth, while the tree represents life, knowledge, and creativity. Artists' tools mingle with artistic products and spiritual and cultural symbols from Africa, Europe, Asia, and Mexico. The frames allude to the social conditions in which art is made and seen. Of the final product, Gude wrote, the mural, "while following the mural tradition of incorporating pattern and symbols from the cultures of neighborhood residents, eschewed the tradition of using human figures and an obvious narrative structure."

The Murals of Olivia Gude, MFA'82

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