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February 1, 2017
Reclaiming Space and Restoring Black Culture through Public Art •
When you meet extraordinary your eyes dazzle by its radiance. From musicians to athletes, painters, thinkers, liberators, orators, beautiful minds and souls… we are evermore astonished and inspired by them. A light so bright, they make ugly beautiful, and make up the glory of the world.
Here is one such soul. An artist and educator from Oakland, RefaOne (aka Refa Senay) of AeroSoulArt is not only a muralist for the sake of artistic appreciation — his works carry deeper meaning. Amidst rapid gentrification, artists like RefaOne are doing important and relevant work in West Oakland — historically black neighborhood — reclaiming space and restoring culturally significant murals (African cultural representation) removed by gentrifiers.
His mission is to preserve and reorganize Oakland’s cultural legacy through the expression and promotion of public art. In West Oakland, he hopes to transform the town through the commanding nature of murals into a vibrant (black) cultural museum. He says he strives to be an instrument that empowers knowledge and revolution through creativity.
But that’s not all he does, he also teaches art as restorative justice for Oakland’s youth population, juveniles at area prisons and detention centers as well being a mentor and role model for the same population.
An agent for change.
Detail from new 200ft mural lead by Refa One on Market Street under the 580 fwy in Oakland.
Making a Mark on Campbell Street
By Ryan Lindsay
Posted December 9, 2016 4:03 pmLocal artist Refa One is working to complete a sprawling mural on Campbell Street in West Oakland.
A former grocery store and pizza spot turned community center is getting a fresh look thanks to the work of Refa One, a community artist. Refa started painting the sprawling seven-panel mural in October and hopes to finish by the end of the year.
The mural, located in West Oakland’s Lower Bottoms neighborhood, includes a mix of African and African-American imagery, symbolism and cityscapes, from Timbuktu to Oakland. Refa has been painting murals in Oakland for over 15 years.
Click on the button on the right to hear Refa and Batsch, a French artist, discuss the elements of the mural.
CLICK LINK below to hear full interview