If these walls could talk, they might tell a different story. If we had laid our eyes on what these walls had, we might a hold a different vision. If you had given ear to what they had heard, you might feel a different feeling. Echoing sounds upon their sheer faces, reverberating stories of pasts, presents, and futures. Cracks upon their faces reveal lifetimes of growth and learning. Smile lines and wrinkles reflecting time itself upon the flat vertical surfaces. The entire range of emotions shown through the sun-beaten patches of paint and plaster. The love these walls have felt, the violence they have experienced. T he moments of human expression they have been a part of and worn so proudly. Beacons of our community, standing proud, holding firm. Generations have passed, times have changed, and here have stood these walls. Grasping our community, holding us together. Creating labyrinths which dictate the directions we travel and the places we see. They so often are exactly, the things we see.
What are walls? Walls are the spans between pillars that support our roofs. They are made to support our art. Walls shield us from the wind. Walls have the ability to keep the unwanted out and hold within the things that we hold most dear. Walls contain within their confines worlds mostly unknown to those on the outside. Inside these walls are where ideas are born, where family’s are grown, where secrets are kept, and babies are made. They hold our secrets and allow us the comfort and privacy to be ourselves truly. Walls help shape our neighborhoods, our communities, our nations, and our world. Walls have the ability to separate and divide us, and at the same time they hold and group us together.
These walls, our walls, the village walls, constructed of brick, wood, concrete, plaster and a multitude of other materials. The walls are as diverse as the communities they stand within. Look just beyond the surface, and you can begin to piece together a story of these walls and their involvement in the world. Spills, crashes, gunshot wounds, chalk lines, graffiti, graffiti removal, the good times, the bad times, through rough weather and calm. Each mark, another experience, another story that otherwise would go untold if not held and carried on by these walls. So many stories unheard so many memories are unseen. Stop, look a little closer, and you can begin to understand the stories put on display. Like detectives at work, we start to look closely and observe, a story starts to unfold. A more clear picture of what our community consists of begins to show itself. Visual and structural parts of a community that change simultaneously with the community itself. Tough enough to take bags of nails to the face and keep standing, sturdy enough to be the thing that no matter what, alway and forever has your back.
Stop. Look. Listen, the walls do talk, they show the whole story, in a language all their own. A language all of us see and understand, but not all of us choose to give our attention. Layer upon layer of paint, plaster, pollution, and caring. The natural decay reveals the days of the years that have passed. You have to look close, at the scratches, the scrapes, the drips of paint that reside below, the south facing, sun faded story of how life once must have been. Look right there and listen close for the stories. The story starts with a purpose, of love and beauty, the attitude of growth with the aim of comfort and function. The walls share and experience the same growth and failures as the individuals in the community.
Standing as representatives of the community, peering at all newcomers face to face. They are often the most visible part of a neighborhood. It is with this in mind that we can aim to uplift a community through communicating through the walls. Through allowing the walls to carry our expressions, and our messages. Through thoughtful decoration and intentional manipulation, the village walls can be a tool in shaping our communities and expressing our deepest thoughts. We can begin to create a community with an uplifting presence simply by paying mind and giving attention to the walls of our community. Thoughtfully, publicly, by the way, and by what, our walls display.
New paint, new colors, applied to a few walls is often all it takes to change the appearance of an entire neighborhood. Murals are an even more powerful way of modifying walls to create more aesthetically pleasing and appealing environments. An entire city full of blank canvas. Art is language, a universal language which can be used to create a dialogue between members of the community and the city itself. mLet us create clear communication and begin the conversation. Let’s us look past the many socio-economic barriers which often divide us as a community and furthermore as a species. Embrace the art, the surface, the walls. Let these walls bring us together and divide us no more. Pueblo is our village, and these are our walls.
Support The Shadows
The Shadows is an art therpay program aimed at helping the world to learn to express and let go of the dark parts of ourselves through art and creative processes. Donations help to further the video project, work with inmates and youth, and create art of my own to share the message.