Saturday, November 23, 2013

Wall of Daydreaming and Man’s Inhumanity to Man



Wall of Daydreaming and Man’s Inhumanity to Man, 1975
William Walker, Mitchell Caton, Santi Isrowuthalkul and John Pitman Weber
47th Street and Calumet Avenue

            William Walker (1927-2011), considered by many to be the father of the community mural movement, co-founded Chicago Mural Group (later renamed the Chicago Public Art Group) in 1970. Theodore Burns Mitchell, known by many as Mitchell Caton (1930-1998), was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas and raised in Chicago. He attended the University of Little Rock on an art scholarship, and later attended the School of the Art Institute and the Art Student's League in New York. He returned to Chicago in 1955 and in the 1960s met Walker at a downtown post office where the two worked as mail sorters.
            This mural depicts civil rights and spiritual leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln alongside some of history's notorious villains; Nazis and members of the Ku Klux Klan are prominently featured. Assassinated public figures Robert F. and John F. Kennedy are opposite shackled slaves being freed.
            Like Walker’s 1967 ground-breaking mural Wall of Respect, this is also located in a high-crime area, yet neither work has ever been tagged or defaced in any way. The Chicago Public Art Group restored Wall of Daydreaming and Man’s Inhumanity to Man in 2003. In a 2009 interview with Northwestern University’s Medill Reports, Jon Pounds, executive director of the Chicago Public Art Group said of the mural, “It’s not a proclamation to the larger world about what the community is. It’s a reflection to the community that lived and walked right here about what these artists thought this community should be thinking about.”
            John Pitman Weber, another CPAG artist, has worked on more than 40 major projects in the United States, England and France. His biography on the CPAG website notes that, "collaboration is a source of inspiration for me and a wellspring of content." 

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