Murals: colorful, magical… cultural storytelling at its best. Word on the street is there’s a new mural in town, right in the heart of Oakland. The Community Rejuvenation Project (CRP)’s Alice Street Mural Project will be officially commemorated this weekend with a diverse lineup of dancers and other local luminaries. A cool new mural and live dance? What more do you need?
More than two years in the making, the mural focuses on the contributions of the Afro-Diasporic community centered around the Malonga Casquelord Center for the Arts, as well as cultural icons from Oakland’s native Chinese and Chinese-American population located near the Hotel Oakland. Painted on two walls, the mural prominently features Casquelord, a Congolese dancer and drummer; Carla Service, founder of Dance-A-Vision and the Oakland Dance Festival; Tony Cerda, chief of the Costanoan Rumsen Carmel Tribe of the Ohlone Nation plus other figures of historic cultural importance: there’s a 30+ ft portrait of the legendary Carlos Aceituno a section dedicated to LIKHA – Pilipino Folk Ensemble and another portrait of onetime Oakland Chinatown resident and kung-fu icon Bruce Lee.
“This story’s not complete without people like CK Ledzepko, Mama Naomi and Papa Zac, Moshe Milion, Jose Lorenzo… there’s so many people who have to be put up on this wall,” said artist Desi Mundo. Mundo and fellow artist Pancho Peskador were the lead artists for the project, painted in two phases over the course of two years. During Phase II the artists worked every day for six weeks.
A block party scheduled for Saturday, June 6, 12-4pm, in the parking lot at Alice and 14th Sts., will officially commemorate and dedicate this mural with a community celebration featuring guest speakers and live music and dance. Scheduled performers – many of whom are among the Oakland arts pioneers painted on the wall – include Oaktown Jazz Workshop, Kiazi Malonga, Mosheh Milon, Tacuma King, Diamano Coura, Dance-A-Vision, Fogo Na Roupa, SambaFunk, PE 2.0, and the Hotel Oakland Choir and Dancers. Guest speakers include District 3 Councilmember Lynnette Gibson-McElhaney, Alice Arts Center co-founder Halifu Osumare, media personality and author Jerri Lange, and Gerald Reese. The event will begin with an Ohlone prayer and song by Luta Candelaria, and will be hosted by Carla Service.
A planned documentary about the mural is also in production (scheduled to be released in 2016), as well as an educational website and companion coffee table book, to be published by Pochino Press.
30+ ft portrait of the legendary Carlos Aceituno section dedicated to LIKHA – Pilipino Folk Ensemble