By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,551)
A colorful mural composed of many hundreds of household items has attracted admirers from all over. The community based mural is at the corner of Anderson and Fox Streets in the East Bayside section of Portland – where the community has participated in this unique project sponsored by the University of Southern Maine Artist in Residence Program.
The design of the mural is the creation of Muhsana Ali, 49. She is a community based artist – something she learned about herself years ago. In the late 90’s Muhsana earned a Fulbright Scholarship to research African art and produce an exhibit based on those results in Western Africa, a/k/a Cote d’Ivoire. She located an abandoned building with sixty (60) homeless men between the ages of 12 – 20 years. “It was a rough crowd,” she said yesterday afternoon.at the site of the East Bayside mural. “Some of them carried knives and had been in prison.”
She built a studio inside the building where she created sculptures inside. “My experience was about them as well as the sculptures I was doing,” she said. “That experience was similar to right here at the corner of Anderson and Fox Streets. That’s when Muhsana realized she is not a studio artist, but rather a community based artist. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the nationally known muralist Isaiah Zagar is her mentor.. “Children and adults stopped by inquiring about the mural yesterday afternoon – many of them wanting to participate in the project.
The commission from the USM Art-in-Residence program is scheduled to expire on Thursday, October 20, 2016. Muhsana is concerned that the entire project as she and her artist husband Amadou Kane vision will not be completed by then.
A fundraiser is scheduled for Thursday, October 20, 2016 between 19:00 – 22:00. It is organized by Coffee-by-Design, a co-sponsor of the Mural. Baristas from local coffee houses in the area will compete pour at One Diamond Street. One half of the proceeds will go to the East Bayside Community Mural to extend the stay of the two artists to complete the project.