About the Project
What if you had a time machine and you traveled to a future where we keep each other safe and do not have to rely on the state?
During the COVID-19 pandemic and recent nationwide uprisings for social justice and racial equity, we have been tasked with imagining a future that transforms how we conceive of community, safety, and justice. In their project, The Future Is Worth The Fight, Just Hold On & You Will See, artist Jess X. Snow guides young people from all over Philadelphia through this process of transformation. By tackling the question of what safety and community would look like if defined by those who are most often silenced, young people are imagining a world beyond and without the systems, they have inherited, many of which have failed them.
This mural features the portraits and letters of a group of Philadelphia-based high school students and their families who were a part of a class examining Black and Indigenous and Diasporic People of Color-led alternatives to community care and safety that don’t rely on the state (transformative justice, mutual aid, art, meditation, and community mental health) taught by Muralist Jess X. Snow and AR/VR Artist Frisly Soberanis over the summer of 2020. Guests included poet Mahogany L. Browne, filmmakers Shane McSauby and Derrick Woodyard, artist Kah Yangni, and musician Kyoko Takenanka; readings included Audre Lorde, Thích Nhất Hạnh, and Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz.
Together, this group worked through a curriculum that explored the complexities of race, ethnicity, mindfulness, and justice. In addition to many classes with Jess X Snow, a series of visiting artists, filmmakers, and poets deepened context for the current racial justice uprisings by affirming Indigenous peoples’ lives and histories, intersectional approaches to activism, and the firm recognition that we must center those most impacted by systems in our reenvisioning of how they function. This project aims to build solidarity between young people from all over the city to meet the current moment and envision a new world through art-making. The project will culminate in the creation of a new mural in Kensington. Collaborating artist Frisly Soberanis will be creating an augmented reality component for the project that archives students’ work and allows the completed mural to live in our increasingly digital present. This mural celebrates a peoples’ representation of safety and inspires intersectional solidarity on our path to justice.
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