In 2014, Sam Kirk was approached by Chicago Public Art Group and Alderman Danny Solis to create a female version of the pre-existing "Galeria del Barrio" Mural by Aurelio Diaz (completed in 1976). While, Kirk was honored by the gesture and agreed to do a mural, her vision was on a grander scale than what was initially suggested. She proposed a mural that was a celebration of women from different cultures and backgrounds -- something she felt wasn't common in her segregated home town of Chicago.
After several conversations, an agreement was reached and when the time came to pick her team, she decided to swap several artist assistants for a Co-Lead, Sandra Antongiorgi. Sandra and Sam had been talking about a possible collaboration for a while and she thought this was the perfect opportunity to team up with Sandra.
"I envisioned a piece that would stop people in their tracks, something that would be so in your face that you couldn't ignore it. I knew in order to do this, I would need Sandra's stunning portraiture work to blend with my illustrative line work and color palette." -- Sam
The duo worked on the mural in a very organic fashion, allowing current topics and issues around the nation to influence the selection of women chosen, the expressions on their faces, age, color palette and title. They found themselves in a crux at some points. While they were paid to complete this piece, it was truly a labor of love, as they changed direction a couple times adding additional days into their timeframe in order to achieve the vision they desired. In the end, it was well worth it. The mural is a perfect combination of realistic and illustrative talent. At 15ft x 40ft, it is impossible to miss this masterpiece.
"Weaving Cultures”, is a mural celebrating underrepresented women of diverse backgrounds, including a transgender Latina. The 15 ft. x 40 ft. mural, was developed to increase awareness and encourage a dialogue around unity and acceptance. Located at the intersection of 16th and Blue Island in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, the mural sits at the border of a predominantly large Latino and African-American community, an area known as an artists’ enclave that is also experiencing gentrification.
Lead Artist: Sam Kirk
Co-Lead: Sandra Antongiorgi
Listen to a couple of the interviews about the process:
Commissioned by Chicago Public Art Group, and Alderman Danny Solis Press Interviews: WBEZ, Telemundo, NBC News, Univision, Gozamos, Vocalo Morning Amp