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An African American artist has visually captured the essence of #BlackExcellence in Chicago by creating a larger than life mural that features iconic Black women who have left indelible marks on the city, the Chicago Tribune reported.

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Kerry James Marshall’s street art piece—entitled RUSH MORE—features the likeness of influential women like media mogul Oprah Winfrey, poet Gwendolyn Brooks and other powerful individuals who represent different cultures and generations in the city, the news outlet writes. The mural— which was painted on the west façade of the Chicago Cultural Center and is 132-feet-wide and 100-feet-high—is an artistic spin on Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. The Cultural Center has evolved into a hub for art exhibitions in the city.

Marshall, 62, wanted to use his artistry to highlight the contributions that these women have made towards shaping the artistic and cultural landscape of the city. The faces of the women featured in the mural are painted on the trunks of trees; illustrating how they each uniquely played a role in the growth of Chicago.

“I thought, well, in the history of monuments you have very few that represent women, but in the history of Chicago you have very many women that played key roles in establishing culture here,” he told the Chicago Tribune. He felt so inclined to do this piece, that money wasn’t a factor for him. He only took $1 for the project despite creating pieces in the past that have been auctioned off for millions of dollars. According to the source, it was a full-circle project for Marshall who had his first art exhibition at the Cultural Center when he moved to Chicago in the 1980s.

The art project was led by the non-profit organization Murals of Acceptance which strives to use the streets as a canvas for fine art. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel praised Marshall for his work and dedication to beautifying the city through his artistry. “Kerry James Marshall is one of the most renowned artists in the world today,” said Mayor Emanuel, according to the news outlet. “You think of Kerry James Marshall. You think of the women. You think of the building. And you think of the 50-year anniversary of the Picasso piece. I can’t think of a better way to bring those threads together into one statement. It’s a tremendous gift for the city.”

Many artists have been using their work to make powerful social and political statements. An artist recently created a mural in Macon, Georgia that featured imagery of Colin Kaepernick and Rosa Parks.

SOURCE: Chicago Tribune

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