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Wynwood Walls Goes Big with Humankind

If you had a favorite mural at Wynwood Walls, I hope you took a photo. There is whole new crop of them at the famed epicenter of the Wynwood Arts District that is renowned for its world class and continually evolving collection of curated street art. In December the owners, Goldman Properties, formally unveiled 12 new installations with a theme of “humankind”. The new work will be up for at least a year and includes some familiar names – Tristan Eaton, Risk, Lady Pink, and many more.

There is also a new look and new show at the Peter Tunney Experience gallery located in the main courtyard. Tunney took imaginative advantage of failed casino operator and current President Trump’s overblown and bankrupt Taj Mahal boardwalk casino which opened in 1990, and was once dubbed the “eighth wonder of the world” by Trump. But within a year the casino had declared bankruptcy, as Trump had financed it with $900 million in junk bonds. CNN recently reported that the failed casino also broke anti-money laundering rules 106 times during its first year of business.

So to make American great again he held a liquidation sale in July 2017 to sell off all the tacky old Indian designed gilded objects including enormous crystal chandeliers from Austria, gold framed light boxes, trumpeting elephant statues, brocade furniture and swirling patterned rugs. Hard Rock International, owned by the Hollywood Florida Seminole Tribe, bought the casino for $50 million (a bargain at 4 cents on the dollar) and plans to redesign it to open in 2 years.

Tunney bought some select items and has transformed his gallery into an exhibit that is called “Beyond Word” using the casino carpeting, lavish chandeliers and other remnants from the defunct hotel. This is a unique re-imagining, incorporating the Taj Mahal swag and Tunney’s word art into a cohesive, gaudy, installation think piece.

Wynwood Walls Goes Big with Humankind
Peter Tunney’s Taj Mahal-chandelier – Photo Sandra Schulman (FDP)

Elsewhere in Wynwood Walls, there are new sculptures and murals under the theme of “humanKIND” to infuse compassion, humanity and empathy in today’s society. This concept aims to manifest hope into the world, with the uplifting artwork curated by Goldman Global Arts.

A new favorite is the giant crouching cat on a plane skeleton sculpture (as shown in the above photo) in the courtyard by Bordallo II.

“I was born in Lisbon, 1987. I belong to a generation that is extremely consumerist, materialist and greedy,” he says. “With the production of things at its highest, the production of “waste” and unused objects is also at its highest. “Waste” is quoted because of its abstract definition: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. I create, recreate, assemble and develop ideas with end-of-life material and try to relate it to sustainability, ecological and social awareness.”

The cat is made from discarded metal scraps, repurposed and painted in bright colors. His tail coyly sits on top of the disconnected nose of the plane on a piece sure to be a new selfie hot spot.

Wynwood Walls Goes Big with Humankind
New LadyPink mural – Photo Sandra Schulman (FDP)

Lady Pink, one of the original street art grrrls from the Bronx Wild Style crew of the 70s, has updated her long wall mural. The new mural plays out like a graphic novel with chapters of smaller murals telling a bigger picture story as the outlines of the murals spell the word RESIST. Scenes of rising tides swallow Paris and polar bears alike. Trump makes another unfortunate appearance as a diapered devil against a wall of human skulls.

Wynwood Walls Goes Big with Humankind
Tristan Eaton mural – Photo Sandra Schulman (FDP)

Tristan Eaton, who has a huge mural in West Palm Beach on the Alexander Lofts building, has a new work here of multi-ethnic female faces, layered in red, white and blue with a row of white stars blazing across the front. It’s power to the women of America, a timely and insightful way to express solidarity.

In what is sure to be another major selfie spot, artist Leon Keer has created an old school mural of a Polaroid camera called ‘Picture Perfect’.

Ironically he is against the craze saying “The forced selfies will consume the unique identity you have and blur upon the existence of the person you are. Humanity and kindness does not arise from selfieshness.”

Sorry Leon, this work has already appeared thousands of times online.

With all the new work, Wynwood Walls is well worth a new visit.

Wynwood Walls is the winner of the 2016 “Global Award of Excellence” – from the Urban Land Institute.

Eat at Wynwood Kitchen, stroll the courtyard, peruse the more affordable art in the back gallery. And don’t forget to take photos of favorite murals, as these will be gone when the new winds of change blow through.