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Roads To Deliberate Dreams

Indianapolis, IN | 2010

One of the missions of WON Mural Society is to create artworks that set the record straight on the true multicultural history of the United States. ROADS TO DELIBERATE DREAMS is a piece inspired by the multicultural history, herstory, and heritage of Indiana. It takes the viewer through a journey of the history of Indiana’s crucial role in transportation development. Akinlana painted a range of images to showcase Indiana's growth, from early rudimentary modes of transportation to modern marvels. Included amongst the imagery are references to the use of Indiana’s waterways, land, and air for transportation and the inventiveness and determination of Indiana citizens to master transportation despite all odds.


This piece gives particular attention to the contributions of Black and Native American peoples to Indiana's transportation system. It starts with the indigenous Miami (Myaamiaki) people who resided in what is now Indiana and Michigan. The Miami people ran portage routes that transported boats over areas of dry land. These same routes were later used by European settlers. Roads to Deliberate Dreams then portrays the history of transportation in Indiana, up until the invention of the car. It includes sculptures of Amelia Earhart training women in aviation at Purdue University and  Octave Chanute successfully hang gliding. It also includes several portrayals of notable Indiana figures, including:

  • Charlie Wiggins, the racer and mechanic known as "The Negro Speed King"

  • York and companions in canoe on Clark and Lewis expedition.

  • Native American porters carrying canoe across the Maumee pass

  • Major Taylor in a cycling race

  • Elwood Haynes with his early automobile

  • Willa B. Brown flying the skies

  • Sylvanus Bowser’s pump and the Indy 500 Trophy

  • The Duesenberg brothers working on the V8 supercharged engine

  • Modern day Indy 500 Racer with checkered flag

The piece also depicts several inventions including the first radar-equipped control tower for civilian flying at Weir Cook, an abstraction of a Lincoln Highway sign, and horses dragging a boat through canal and canal workers. The water of the canal transforms into the Monon train.


Located in the Indianapolis International Airport, this spectacular nod to Indiana's unique history is a 30 ft x 7 ft acrylic painting done on panels. The two featured sculptures are free-standing cantilevered fiberglass, which Akinlana threw in as part of the New Orleans tradition of lagniappe, or a little something extra. The sculptures measure 80 in x 40 in x 28 in x 85 in x 42 in x 24 in. Commissioned by Indianapolis Airport Authority. 

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