‘Innovation Lights the Way’ for the new mural adorning the Da Vinci Art Alliance
In the vein of Da Vinci Fest Live’s celebration of community, art and innovation, the mural dedicated on Oct. 11 hits on all fronts.
At the heart of Da Vinci Fest Live’s in-person and virtual festivities throughout October is the celebration of the intersection of art, technology and its impact on the surrounding community.
That mission mirrors the life of renowned artist, inventor and festival namesake, Leonardo Da Vinci. While his art dated well over 500 years still captivates audiences to this day, his observations of human anatomy, botany and more also pushed human understanding forward in the Renaissance toward the eventual Age of Enlightenment.
In its biggest honor of Da Vinci life and work, Da Vinci Fest Live commissioned a new mural to adorn the Da Vinci Art Alliance created by Mural Arts Philadelphia partners Samantha Kovnat and Maria Roman.
Innovation Lights the Way is not only a celebration of all things Leonardo, but also ties the theme of innovation and art to the surrounding community in South Philadelphia.
The mural is done in a collage, and features a blown-up page from Da Vinci’s notebook, an old street map of the Bella Vista neighborhood, a drawing of the Baptist church on Christian street, remnants of the stained glass seen at the Fleisher Art Memorial, lanterns common to Vietnamese culture, an homage to the neighborhood’s steel industry roots, and a decoration of papel picado in honor of the nearby Mexican community, among other scenes.
Collage was chosen as the style for Innovation for its ability to not only highlight, but honor things that people from different cultures in the area interact with on a daily basis.
“To celebrate that artifact that maybe they don’t think about,” said Roman. “We wanted to add that all in there so maybe someone, no matter where you’re from in that area or what your culture is, can find something that you relate and feel warmth from.”
But despite their differences, the mural ties all the scenes together with the molecule oxytocin. The molecule is often associated with feeling love for or connection to another human being.
In the context of Innovation, the oxytocin is sparked by seeing a scene depicted in the mural that is relatable to one’s life or culture.
“We’re so similar in a way that we have these things like food and crafts and sewing,” said Roman. “Those are the times when we feel oxytocin… we all feel that.”
Innovation Lights the Way was dedicated on Oct. 11 and more of its story can still be read on the Da Vinci Fest Live website until Oct. 29.