Where There Is Discord Harmony:

The Power of Art

Chicago, IL | 1991

Collaborated with Olivia Gude

WHERE THERE IS DISCORD HARMONY: THE POWER OF ART is a mural showing the power of visual art. It was designed by Marcus Akinlana, Olivia Gude, and community members of the South side of Chicago. "Beaucoup* input from the community, that's how it was designed," Akinlana says of this mural. "It was dealing with the lifeblood and the upliftment of the community of South Shore, at that time."

 

The artists decided not to use any human figures to force a new style. They also chose a unique color palette to ensure that this mural stood out from the usual art you would see in the area. Although the mural shows the different tools artists use, the true statement of the piece is how art guides societies. In this mural, the art portrayed speaks to the pain of the community. It suggests that art is a tool used to better our lives and environments. The mural uses spiritual symbols that can be found in Chinese, Native American, African and European culture. Akinlana and Gude relied heavily on iconography and interpretation when designing this show-stopping masterpiece. Understanding the symbolism of the piece is essential to understanding the artists' vision. Some notable aspects of the piece are:

  • The ram, which is an animal that is sacred to the Orisa Sango 

  • The golden doll, which is a symbol of the Orisa Osun

  • The eyes, which symbolize the two physical eyes and the third eye

  • The tears, which represent the tears shed for lives ruined by the epidemic of drugs

This 30 ft x 65 ft community landmark can still be seen on the South side of Chicago, where it continues to make headlines. Commissioned by Chicago Public Art Group and the Neighborhood Institute.

*beaucoup: a lot (New Orleans Creole)