CYNTHIA CAGLE, Artist and Design Collaborator
FERENE PARIS MEYER, Storyteller & Founder CEO of All Heart Inspirations
AISHA MCLAREN, Founder and Maker at Soul Simone, Earring Design
TANYA TALAMANTE, Design Collaborator
Ferene Existing While Black explicitly and implicitly signifies the emancipation of enslaved people celebrated on Juneteenth. The core concept of the mural is invisibility contrasted with the full vibrancy of Black identity. The mural is inspired by the poem “I Am From All of Me Is Tired,” by Ferene Paris Meyer. The mural is a portrait of Ferene—a local storyteller, mother, Vermonter and queer Haitian Black woman. Surrounding her are hummingbirds, flowers and fruits native to Haiti, and traditional red Juneteenth foods meant to symbolize resilience. Earrings hang down from the bottom of the mural, reflecting the light of her inner brilliance. In the background is the landscape of Lake Champlain backed by the Adirondacks, locating the image in the City of Burlington. Of significance are the gaps in the portrait revealing the landscape behind. The message is clear: there are parts of being Black in America that remain unseen. Invisible. We have cause to celebrate our history, but we should be seen all the time. The mural highlights the significance of Juneteenth not just as a vitally important moment of history, but as part of the richness of Black lives being lived joyfully and intentionally right now, today, in our city.
Listen to Ferene Paris Meyer read I Am From All Of Me Is Tired HERE. This audio file contains explicit language.
Cynthia Cagle, a Chicana artist from Los Angeles, moved to Vermont in 2004. Since arriving in Vermont, Cynthia has taught art and pottery, as well as exhibited at various community locations. She has worked in many mediums, primarily oil but also graphite, acrylics, watercolors, chalks, clay, charcoal and various inks. Street art—especially murals—has a rich and varied history within Latin American culture. Murals can be a vehicle for personal expression, historical events, and political statements. Most importantly, urban murals often tell stories left out of mainstream narratives. Drawing on this history and her own background, artist Cynthia Cagle provides the foundation for a rich amalgamation of powerful female artists that root the project within the local community
Commissioned by Burlington City Arts and the Office of Racial Equity, Inclusion and Belonging