State of Progression

Benton Harbor, MI | 1997​

Across the lake from Chicago is a small Michigan town called Benton Harbor. In 1997, Benton Harbor's murder rate was one of the highest in the US despite only having a population of 10,000. In order to bring some positivity to their hometown, two men commissioned a mural to increase community involvement, and State of Progression was born. State of Progression was a community-based acrylic mural created in collaboration with the people of Benton Harbor and fabricated with START youth apprentices and community members . 

STATE OF PROGRESSION proved challenging to make, as Akinlana had to overcome the contention between fighting factions in the community to create this piece. Benton Harbor was at the time struggling with corruption, racism, and poverty. At one point, Akinlana's family was threatened to prevent him from finishing the piece. While this piece was unable to be finished the way that Akinlana intended, it stands as a testament to the dangers of creating revolutionary works of art. (From Memory) Commissioned by a Benton Harbor Community coalition for Murals & Public Art founded by Bob & Judy Weber with Sam Williams.