PHILADELPHIA - The 17th Annual Philadelphia Julyteenth Festival will occur in Germantown on Saturday, 17th June, at 2 pm. This is the first official mural for the region. The 1,100 sq. ft. mural was designed by Custom Arts Studio Creative Director Keisha Howley. The Absolute Equality - Juneteenth Celebration.

Unveiling Philadelphia's First Juneteenth Mural

The mural was installed on the ArtHaus' wall because it was a 'no-brainer.' Whatley said that the mural was a service to the city and community. She explains that the building dates back to the 1860s when it was legal for humans to own each other. "I remember when I look at the beams which form .the structure of this building that these planks were probably from trees through which enslaved people ran to escape."

Whatley said, "If we're going to tell the tale, then let's tell the entire story." she stated that a mural depicting the end of slavery would have obvious iconography, such as chains, whipping sticks, picking cotton, and pain. The mural's images and story must begin before the colonization of Africa.

Five levels tell the story of healing, transformation, and birth. Each level is viewed through a symbolic vine system that opens up. The first three levels are the first iteration.

  • African Prehistory and Royalty: Precolonial
  • Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade/ US Slavery
  • Juneteenth: Family, Freedom and a Future
  • The Struggle for Absolute Equality: police brutality, racism and Protests (to complete in 2024)
  • The Future of Absolute Equality (to be completed by 2024)

The historic mural dedication will feature Colored Troop Reenactors from the festival, dance, and drum performances, and interactive art stations. It is part of the national Absolute Equal-Juneteenth Mural Project that began in Galveston (the birthplace of Juneteenth), TX, in 2021 and has since expanded to include large murals in cities such as Chicago, Detroit, Miami, Houston, Dallas, Shreveport, and now Philadelphia. The organizers say that by creating murals across different communities, this project creates a sense of connection and shared history. It also inspires conversations and promotes greater unity and understanding.


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