Benu: The Rebirth of SouthShore

Chicago, IL | 1990

Collaboration with Jeffrey Cook

The Chicago Riots of 1968, sparked by the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr, left many Black neighborhoods in the city dealing with extensive damage. The South Shore of Chicago was one such neighborhood that was destroyed in the righteous anger of the riots. BENU: THE REBIRTH OF SOUTH SHORE shows how the resilient people of South Shore went about rebuilding their community physically, spiritually, culturally and economically after the riots. Located at Jeffrey Plaza, the 65 ft x 25 ft mural depicts people moving forward as they rebuild their burnt-out community. Egyptian motifs can be seen throughout the piece, a constant reminder to the people of South Shore that they are descendants of pyramid builders. The most prominent figure in the mural is the Orisa Oya, divinity of change. This beautiful testament was designed by Marcus Akinlana and Jeffrey Cook. They worked with a team of four artists and ten apprentices. This piece features a bas relief and was commissioned by the Department of Cultural Affairs, Chicago.