"We Are Universal" mural in Fishtown celebrates transgender community
Muralist Kah Yangni and residents of Morris Home —the only residential recovery program in the country specifically catering to transgender communities — created the city's first mural showcasing trans and gender-nonconforming people.
- "I think people ignore trans people a lot, and we're shoved to the side," Yangni tells Axios. "I hope when the rest of my community sees this, they feel important, seen and welcome."
What they're saying: Yangni said last year's summer of protests against police brutality makes the mural even more special.
- The demonstrations resulted in the removal of the Frank Rizzo statue at City Hall and the temporary covering of the Christopher Columbus monument at Penn's Landing.
- "I feel really strongly about having to walk by murals or public art of racist people from history every day," Yanghi said. "It upsets me that those are the people that get a lot of the public space. I never thought someone would give $50,000 for one mural to represent values [like mine]."
Yangni has been incorporating transgender people in their work for years, but the "We Are Universal" mural — which covers 2,200 square feet — is the largest project they've done to date.
- Yangni began the project by going to Morris Home and asking residents what they wanted the public to know about their experiences.
- The quotes on the mural — "We're trans, we're survivors," "We are joyful," "We feel rage" and "We are Universal" — are from those conversations.
Yangni designed the mural based on a photo shoot by photographer angel shanel edwards at Bartram's Gardens in May of Morris Home residents surrounded by trees and flowers.
The mural is a joint project between Mural Arts Philadelphia and the city's Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services.
Go visit: The mural is on a 100-foot-wall on the side of Cake Life at 1306 Frankford Avenue in Fishtown.
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