Philadelphia, PA | 2003
"FLYVENTURES is a journey into the joys and adventures of flight. When I conceived this project I wanted to make a visual historical statement of the near misses and successes that occurred for humanity to master the sky." -Marcus Akinlana
Starting at the ground floor west-end escalator wall of the international ticketing lobby in the Philadelphia International Airport, FLYVENTURES portrays the journey into ancient aviation history. A Chinese elder flying a kite is the first three dimensional sculpture suspended out of the mural, showing one of the earliest forms of flight technology. On the opposite southeast-end escalator wall, a sculpture of a female astronaut holding a cable to an "Apollo 13" styled space shuttle shows how far flight mechanics has come.
The images depicted in this mural give hints to the viewer of the great bravery, vision, determination and technological genius that humanity has shown in its efforts to master aviation. Flight development has been a collective effort spanning from mythical ancient times to the present and involving different peoples and cultures across the globe. Fearless aviators, both male and female, have undertaken incredible feats to tame the sky. Flyventures is composed of two 40 ft x 17 ft murals with a sloping 4 ft ceiling. Each acrylic mural incorporates a larger-than-life cantilevered sculpture measuring 9 ft x 5 ft x 3.5 ft. The sheer scale of the murals and sculptures are reflective of the theme of the artwork: the limitless boundaries of the sky are equally matched with humankind's quest to conquer it.
Included amongst the imagery are helicopters paying tribute to the industry and inventiveness of Igor Sikorsky, the "father of the helicopter," who worked in the Philadelphia area and female flyers and barnstormers paying homage to adventurous aviators such as Amelia Earhart and Bessie Coleman.
"I have always enjoyed working in multi-media in my public art works and [Flyventures] gave me the opportunity to combine murals and three-dimensional sculptures in a very large scale," says Akinlana. "It is my biggest project to date (2003). It was technically challenging but big fun working to get the different aspects of the pieces to work together."
FLYVENTURES is an original work developed in cooperation Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development, the City, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.