PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Artists Repertory Theatre, in partnership with the Public Art Committee of the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC), has selected Blaine Fontana and Toma Villa for a mural project entitled “Sky Fox” for the newly renovated ART building on Southwest Morrison Street.
The artists were set to begin creating the mural Oct. 30. It was inspired by Villa’s origin story of the stars and moon that will be painted on both the Southwest 15th Avenue and Southwest 16th Avenue side of the Artists Repertory building, currently under construction.
The inspiration for the mural came from the storytelling tradition of Villa, a member of the Confederated Yakama Nation. “Sky Fox” is told through the view of an innocent young girl trying to capture Sky Fox’s tail. The story evolves into a metaphor for acquiring wisdom, responsibility and a deeper understanding of immortality.
“This mural is a profound expression of authentic Indigenous artistry, a vessel for sacred storytelling and an invitation for all to contemplate the profound essence of theater, community, storytelling and the wonder of creation, inviting engagement on spiritual, intellectual, formal and environmental planes,” Villa said. “On one side, viewers will be entranced by the majestic presence of Sky Fox and a resplendent night sky, while on the other, the daughter playfully attempts to ensnare Sky Fox with father’s dip net.”
Fontana and Villa are both well-respected muralists, deeply rooted in the cultural tapestry of Portland. Friends for over 25 years, both hold a deep reverence for the wisdom of their respective heritages. Between the two, they share more than 40 years of experience, having worked alongside each other on multiple mural projects. However, this endeavor will be their first truly collaborative creation, fusing visions, artistic styles, processes and the richness of mixed media.
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