I have been sidetracked recently by changes in my professional life. To celebrate those changes and the fact that I’m finally back to blogging, I am sharing my one and only mural find in Oak Park, a suburb directly west of Chicago.
Compass Rose was painted by one of my favorite muralists, Hector Duarte, in 2007 and covers part of the viaduct at Lake and Ridgeland. I went to find it this spring with my friends A and S — and S turned out to have quite a talent for mural interpretation.
In the center of the mural, four figures point in different directions forming the compass rose of the title. A map of the Americas stretches behind them with footprints migrating across the land.
If you look closely at the blue figure, you can see that s/he is grasping a child who is struggling to swim.
Duarte’s work often considers themes of identity and immigration. But I was surprised to find this mural in Oak Park which, as far as I know, is not home to a large Latino community. I’m looking forward to asking around in Oak Park and learning how the mural came to be.