We Struggle Together // 2016


Every year, I do a removable mural to beautify large hallway space. It's sorta has become one of my "end of the year" signatures. I'm lucky to have worked at two schools that supported this type of projects.

Mosaic art assists in the development of:

  • Counting, matching, sorting, recognition, and assembling
  • Decision making, manual dexterity, concentration, attention, and patience
  • Problem solving, memory, logic, perception, and imagination
  • Hand and eye coordination – extremely important step to help a child achieve difficult tasks easily, including reading and writing
  • Correlation between seeing and doing (sight and touch senses)
  • Math skills as the child learns about basic calculations, surface area, the best way to break down a larger area into smaller ones, shapes, spatial visualisation
  • Creative self expression, self exploration, and self discovery

This year's theme was "We Struggle Together," a mural about how different groups, races, and religions have struggled over history. We focused on specifically Cesar Chavez, Islamophobia, Women's equality, the Holocaust, Internment camps of Japanese after Pearl Harbor/ WWII, Africa's history does not start with slavery. Students picked these "big struggles" as a group, attempting to understand that we, as humans, are truly all in this together. Wissahickon Charter's incredible Social Studies teacher, Mr. C, helped in focusing in on these topics at school during history class. Mr. C gave students greater context to these issues. 

When thinking about what to write as a purpose tile for this mural, I immediately thought about Bill Nye, the Science Guy's Rutgers University speech. He states:

Researchers have proven scientifically that humans are all one people. The color of our ancestors’ skin and ultimately my skin and your skin is a consequence of ultraviolet light, of latitude and climate. Despite our recent sad conflicts here in the U.S., there really is no such thing as race. We are one species — each of us much, much more alike than different. We all come from Africa. We all are of the same stardust. We are all going to live and die on the same planet, a Pale Blue Dot in the vastness of space. We have to work together.
— Bill Nye

The whole project was thoughtful, amazing, and totally worth the two months of planning, making 5 by 5 inch tiles from scratch, yelling at kids to make sure their tiles were done on time, and the Saturdays making sure everything got done.

My work is marked by events and is a mirror of the mind that is building and falling apart, having a logic but close to chaos, refusing to stay still for the camera, and giving one a sense of heaven and hell simultaneously.
— Isaiah Zagar