CRP artists worked for several days on a mural upholding people’s land rights which drew a connection between the national foreclosure crisis and gentrification already beginning to creep through West Oakland.
Located at 41st St. and International Ave., in the heart of Oakland ’s Fruitvale district, the “Peace and Dignity” mural spans almost two entire city blocks, making it one of CRP’s most ambitious to date. Conceived by CRP’s Desi W.O.M.E. and Mike 360, along with graffiti legends Phase 2 and Vulcan, and painted by Desi, Mike 360, Vulcan, Elijah Pfotenhauer, Pancho Pescador, Beats737, Abakus, Dora Chavarria and youth from the Fruitvale. Commissioned by the property owner Smart & Final and sponsored in part by Oakland’s Community Economic Development Agency (CEDA), the project took more than three months to complete. The mural features vibrantly-painted foreground characters representing indigenous peoples and native symbology: tribal elders, musicians, runners, the agave plant, a hummingbird. Subtle background calligraphy spell out the words “peace” and “dignity” – a reference to the sacred Peace and Dignity Journeys from Alaska to Panama which happen every four years.
As part of its “Healthy Lifestyles” campaign, CRP was commissioned by Richmond Spokes to create a mural inside their new Spokes Shop on Harbor Way. CRP artists Elijah Pfotenhauer and Desi W.O.M.E tied in Richmond landmarks such as the Richmond Plunge and the Craneway with images of gardening and diet along a bike trail. The mural debuted with the opening of the Spokes Shop and a community block party.
One of the most consistent messages in CRP’s artwork is living healthy. Whether it is through exercise such as biking, breaking, or dance; or through growing one’s own food, CRP strives to make the connection between culture and subsistence in all of its work. CRP has created bike murals for the Brown Berets’ Bike Shack in Watsonville and Richmond Spokes. On Diego’s Power Alley Gym, CRP emphasized the connection between Mind, Body and Spirit. On the Peace and Dignity mural…
Blight in and of itself is bad enough. But longstanding problems surrounding the city’s much-maligned Building Services department—which include a noncompetitive bidding process for city contracts, exorbitant fees charged to property owners, and little to no community oversight or involvement in the process—only make matters worse.