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Monday, May 10, 2021

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SDSU studio art senior Sabrina Davidson paints a mural between the Art North and South buildings. SDSU studio art senior Sabrina Davidson paints a mural between the Art North and South buildings.
 


Two New Murals Spark Conversations on Representation

The murals highlight the School of Art and Design’s new diversity and inclusion initiative.
By Sofia Bert
 

San Diego State University’s School of Art and Design is creating two murals in support of the school’s new diversity and inclusion initiative and ongoing project over the past year to improve its facilities and bring more student and faculty art onto the walls and into the corridors.

The two murals, located between the Art North and South buildings, are led by studio art senior Sabrina Davidson and alumna Avia Ramm (’20).

Davidson felt the school needed visual representation for artists of color and submitted a proposal to Annie Buckley, director of the School of Art and Design.

“We rarely see people of color represented in arts curriculum (especially women of color) and I wanted to change that,” said Davidson. “It’s nice that the school listened to us when we wanted to say something through our murals. I really appreciate them listening and I hope that will happen in other departments as well.”

Davidson’s mural features Bhavna Mehta, a female Indian American immigrant and disabled San Diego artist specializing in paper and social practice art, and Augusta Savage, a female Black artist from the Harlem Renaissance who was a sculptor and a civil rights advocate working to train Black people in the arts.

The mural is meant to give flowers to contemporary artists inspiring the next generation who will participate in art that brings communities together, while also acknowledging historical persons of color who have helped to change the world of art and design.

“We as art students need to see that ideas come forth from dreams,” said Davidson. “When you have the technique to convey your ideas, it then takes bravery to actually do the work and the artists in my mural were incredibly brave in pursuing their dreams.”

The second mural, a collaborative mural by Ramm, calls attention to the recent Black Lives Matter movement protests and pays homage to the movements from the ’90s, ’60s, and abolitionists such as Frederick Douglass.

“I’m excited for it to start a dialogue. People can’t forget Black lives will always matter, so our hope is it reminds people to keep educating themselves and to read about Black history,” Ramm said.

Ramm is also working with artists Amel Janae, Bilal Mohammad and Alec Corbitt.

The two new murals are integrated with the School of Art and Design Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, a series of actions and upcoming projects to ensure equal opportunities and representation to all students and to ensure that a diversity of artists, designers, and scholars are represented across the curriculum.

“We are seeking for all courses to include artists, designers, and scholars from diverse backgrounds and co-creating a resource for everyone to draw from to make that content readily accessible,” said Buckley.

The university’s new five-year strategic plan, "We Rise We Defy: Transcending Borders, Transforming Lives," prioritizes supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion to foster an environment in which all students are able to succeed.

The School of Art and Design will also launch a speaker series bringing in artists of color and others addressing the work of art and design in the realm of social justice and is working on an outreach plan for local schools to have art workshops and tours of SDSU.

 
Two New Murals Spark Conversations on Representation
The murals highlight the School of Art and Design’s new diversity and inclusion initiative.