In Jersey City, there are many murals coating different neighborhoods — from wildlife to Shepard Fairey’s waves on Grove Street to Eduardo Kobra’s famous David Bowie on the Cast Iron Lofts building on Jersey Avenue.
Who are the heroes behind their murals? And don’t some of them deserve a presentation of their own?
Those who want to find out about the young artists and stories behind the city’s longest mural — called “Heroes of the World” in the Greenville section of Jersey City — can attend a Jersey City Theater Center (JCTC) event tonight, Thursday, November 21, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Merseles Studios, 339 Newark Avenue.
“Heroes of the World” is a 200-foot, socially engaging mural at 1 Ocean Avenue, depicting heroes of past and present, chosen by the students.
It was created by a team of aspiring Jersey City artists chosen for the Jersey City Summer Youth Mural Arts Program 2019. More than 100 portfolios by young artists were received for the program. The 29 artists, who range in age from 13 to 22, underwent an interview process. They conceived the mural and painted it over six weeks.
They were taught by Duda Penteado, a Jersey City-based fine artist and filmmaker, and Catherine Hart, a Jersey City-based fine artist and muralist. As part of their training, the students took field trips to murals in Jersey City as well as to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Some of the influential personalities featured on the “Heroes of the World” mural: Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Fela Kuti, Helen Keller, Ai Wei Wei, Red Cloud, Florence Nightingale, Oprah Winfrey, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Frida Kahlo, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela, Sitting Bull, Black Hawk, and Crazy Horse.
The young artists who created the mural are: Dallas Wilkins, Bukola Adeleye, Abimalec Barreras, Maria Tejada Gonzalez, Roshard Ali, Renee Ramos, Samar Yagoubi, Claudia Gomez, Sandra Youssef, Shrushti Shahajl Chavan, Maya Rumdayal, Muneeb Alam, Imani Anighoro, Ysabelle Abis, Gabrielle Terteweh, Alberto LaCava, Jonah Dunston, William Kunga, Bill Luong, Zahra Khadir, LucPaul Adams, Barbara Gochis, Jorelle Rea, Weiling Pan, Gino Markocs, Nicole Issac, Maya Sanders, HiYasmine Gaskins, and Stardaysha Santos.
The event will be part of Stories of Greenville, a neighborhood revitalization project conducted by JCTC in conjunction with I Love Greenville Community Plan/Greenville Community Partnership.
In addition to screening a short documentary on the mural, the preliminary sketches and paintings of each historical figure featured on the mural will be exhibited.
“Art revitalizes neighborhoods and improves everyone’s quality of life,” said Olga Levina, artistic director of JCTC. “Everyone should visit the Heroes of the World in Greenville, which is a testament to what is possible with the arts. The mural shows us the leaders today’s youth look up to. JCTC wants to present these young artists and their art in a gallery setting and see the talent, intelligence, and creativity that went into this project.”
“The mural is meant to inspire a dialogue within the community of Jersey City,” said Penteado. “Presenting a gallery show and putting the spotlight on these artists is the final step in the creation of what is truly an open-sky museum.”
JCTC Presents Heroes of the World will also feature a screening of Heroes of the World, a short documentary film directed by Duda Penteado and produced by Unshakeable Productions.