‘Atlanta’s Finest’, an elite group of influential people honored in a newly unveiled mural in the metro Atlanta city of East Point, has people talking. The mural, located at Fun and Play park just blocks from City Hall at 1622 Ware Avenue, features Jovita Moore, Keisha Lance Bottoms, Tyler Perry, Amario Andre, Marvin Bussey, Stacey Abrams, Andrea Wynn, Childish Gambino, Donald Glover and Bernice King.
Aziza Andre, 28, is the artist behind the masterpiece. It took her and her team nearly a year to complete the mural. Originally from New York, she has been in Atlanta for 15 years and grew up to hold a great appreciation for the Black leaders in the area. Her passion for Black art was sparked while she was in art school.
“I just realized it was like Black people didn’t exist in the art history world. I wasn’t learning about anyone, not any person of color,” said Andre.
In art school, Andre was inspired by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo’s style of painting and how she depicted her pain through her art. Andre began using the Black people close to her as inspiration for her own work.
Ekua Holmes, a Black artist based in Boston with more than 40 years of experience, shares Andre’s view that Black representation in the mainstream art world is limited. Her body of work includes an illustration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that was featured as a Google Doodle in 2015 for the Martin Luther King holiday. Like Andre, Holmes believes it is important to get more Black art reflected in society.
“Black artists hold up a mirror to the communities they are part of. It speaks to our history, obstacles, victories, struggles and it also speaks to our future,” said Holmes.
Dr. Clarissa Myrick-Harris, the chair of the Humanities Division of Morehouse College and a professor of Africana Studies, appreciates the diversity of the people depicted in the mural.
“We have here this group of powerful, impactful people and I hope every time somebody passes by that mural in East Point, they’ll feel inspired, and if they don’t recognize someone in that they will explore and Google the person, and do the reading, and understand the influence, and impact of that individual,” said Myrick-Harris.
Andre says the work is not done on the mural, which is mobile and can be expanded to feature more notable Black leaders in the future.