Off the Wall: Atlanta’s Civil Rights & Social Justice Journey is not just a mural project. This process is anchored in community and dialogue. Throughout this process, our main priority has been to elevate the voices of Atlanta residents to share the complex and multiple presences and stories of struggles for rights for all.
Our community conversations are the essence of this project: working with nearly 40 partners that will host the hard yet important questions about our history and our hopes for a future where Atlanta is an equitable place for all.
The next phase that we just finished up was selecting a tenth artist for the Off the Wall project.
We initially had nine artists that were chosen through an invite only application. We wanted to create a process that engaged residents, as well as give the chance for our Atlanta artists to participate in this project!
The tenth Off the Wall artist was selected through a multi-stage review process that prioritizes input from Atlanta residents and representatives from social justice and community organizations. We began with doing a local call for artists in a public application for all artists living in the Metro-Atlanta area. From this, we received 70 submissions. Secondly, from a staff meeting, we were able to narrow that list down to 30 applicants.
We then created a Local Artist Selection Committee who reviewed the list of 30 candidates and selected 5 finalists for the position. This selection committee was made up of a diverse group of neighborhood residents where the murals will be installed, local museum directors, and LGBTQ+ and immigrants rights organizers.
Through an online poll, 1 artist out of the 5 finalists was selected to join Off the Wall.
We are so excited to welcome, Muhammad Yungai to the Off the Wall Team!
Atlanta based artist, Muhammad Yungai is best known for his colorful portraits and school murals. The self-taught artist paints from photos, captures the mood of the photo, then expresses that mood through color. Yungai quit his job as a shoe store manager to pursue a career in art, and found himself teaching Visual Art at the school his daughter’s attended. He noticed that the stale walls of the building didn’t match the energetic spirit of the students and staff. He began to volunteer his artistic ability to bring the same warmth to the halls, as the teachers brought to the classroom. Once he noticed that the feel of the building changed, he decided that from then on that his art would have purpose. Yungai has exhibited work at many art shows and festivals, but recognized that nothing felt as good as transforming a space with mural art that will affect the moods of many people on a daily basis. “Art is color, and color has a major effect on mood and mind.”
To learn more about Muhammad, and our nine other Off the Wall Artists, visit: https://www.offthewallatl.org/off-the-wall-artists/