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Monday, September 26, 2022 11:00am, EDT

Collaborative Mural Celebrating Womanhood To be Unveiled June 6

Rutgers University–Newark’s BOLD Women’s Leadership Network and Project for Empty Space will unveil a mural created by acclaimed artist Adama Delphine Fawundu and BOLD scholarship students on June 6  at 800 Broad Street in Newark from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

The seventy-foot, four-story mural, titled Courage, celebrates the power of womanhood, female identity and ancestral power. 

The collaborative design was created through a dialogue between Rutgers-Newark students in the BOLD Women’s Leadership program, which is funded and supported by the Helen Gurley Brown Foundation, and Fawundu, whose artistic choices were directed by student input.

The end result is a figure with cowrie shells in her hair, rising upward against a brilliant background and connected to the earth through tree-like roots.  It includes a quote by abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth, “Because of them I can now live the dream. I am the seed of the free, and I know it, I intend to bear great fruit.’’ 

Displayed on the façade of Project for Empty Space, a woman-owned arts organization that has led many Newark public art initiatives, the mural overlooks Edison Place across from the Prudential Center.

Rutgers-Newark Executive Vice Chancellor Sherri-Ann Butterfield, who leads the campus BOLD program, called the effort a symbol of collective empowerment. 

“This mural pays tribute to the legacy of past femme-identified social change agents who dared to be their authentic selves and fight for freedom and justice even when confronted with what others deemed as insurmountable odds,’’ she said. “Our phenomenal Rutgers-Newark BOLD scholars are uniquely positioned to carry on this critically important work.’’

"This mural embodies the diverse and intergenerational female students who created it,'' said Jennifer Bucalo, director of partnerships and engagement for the RU-N Academic Foundation Center, who organized the project.  "Art transcends boundaries and has a magical way of bringing the community together. "

Added Fawundu, a Sierra Leonian artist based in New York, “We get to see the powerful mural, but what we don’t see is the process.  The process of exchanging energy, thoughts, and laughter with this young vibrant group.’’