A mural’s ode to labor and migration.
Ellen Cantor (1961–2013) was a prolific artist with an ardent vision that was personal, communal, and political. In the years before her untimely death, she had produced a complex body of work spanning painting, sculpture, drawing, and especially film and video. Her work—an open expression of her own sexuality—faced censorship battles in both the UK and Switzerland in the 1990s.
After Hurricane Katrina, Brandan “Bmike” Odums realized that the graffiti he and other artists were making in the abandoned buildings around New Orleans had an inherent political value, not just because of the subject matter (though Odums himself had always had an affinity for depicting civil-rights icons) but also because creating art in those depopulated spaces foregrounded their meaning, calling attention to what they had once been, what they had been allowed to become, and why.
Check out the mural by Gustavo and Otavio Pandolfo on East Houston and Bowery.