Mecca

There’s no Hajj for street artists but if there were Richmond would be Mecca and the warehouses on S. Davis Avenue would be the Sacred Mosque. In this motionless corner of old industrial Richmond no flat suffice was left unpainted. There is even art on the road, literal street art. The sheer size of the murals makes it impossible not to be impressed never mind their immense number. They give the deserted buildings a cathedral effect: Eyes pitched toward the ceiling, mouth glued to the floor. The colors and subliminal messages are everywhere but the art is by no means random. Each piece is framed by concrete pillars with nothing overlapping. This organized chaos is a temple to art not graffiti. The artists involved rarely labeled their work, instead they all seemed to have signed a single concrete slab in one corner of the complex. Each individual piece has its own style but this is an altogether different kind of art project. It’s a community art project.

Even so this great shrine to originality seems more like an ancient ruin than an active perish. The colorful halls are desolate, there is no one around to appreciate their beauty. A high wall and metal fence keep the mausoleum sealed off. These murals were painted in a flurry of activity then left to rot like the brick canvases they were painted on. A construction team in a corner of the complex is already clearing out one old buildings, the rest are soon to follow. This place is the Richmond Mural Project gone mad, it’s a shame more people can’t walk through and enjoy it.

 

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