ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Motorists and pedestrians traveling along Washington Street in the Nob Hill neighborhood of Albuquerque will see something new and different as they pass by a certain local business – a 120-foot-long mural depicting the immigrant journey to America.
The mural entitled “Making Our Way,” a result of a public-private partnership between Kei & Molly Textiles LLC and the city’s public art program, was officially unveiled with a ribbon-cutting on Monday.
Painting was led by muralist Angel Pavia, and apprentices Alonso Estrada, Alayna Martinez and Ana Palma, all members of Working Classroom, a local nonprofit that supports youth development through the arts and social justice.
Estrada said at one time he believed only items in a museum were considered art. After joining Working Classroom, his way of thinking changed. He spoke about the experience of using a 120-foot-long wall as a canvas.
“I found it very welcome, and I found it very interesting only because it was a big wall, but we took the challenge of painting it within a month,” Estrada said. “The team that I had and the people who I worked with were amazing. Everybody was on track. It was amazing and beautiful at the very end.”
The mural depicts immigrant women and their children in silhouette traveling to their new country symbolized by a welcoming Native American mother and her child. The backdrop stitches together six different colorful textiles from around the world: African ankara cloth, Japanese indigo fabric, Suzani embroidery from Central Asia, a South American weave, a Caribbean print and a Navajo rug.
Kei Tsuzuki, co-owner of Kei & Molly Textiles, said most people, if they look at their family history, will find they come from the immigrant story.
“When you look at this mural, I hope we all remember the hope, the perseverance and the courage of people coming to this country to make a better life for themselves, their children and their families,” Tsuzuki said. “Remember that when you pass by on Washington and it will give you a little smile. That’s what we hope we will give the community with this mural.”
The artists were supported by community volunteers who helped with painting every Monday in June.
The mural was funded in part by the city’s 1 percent for the arts program.