Bay Area Walls commission
October 3, 2020–October 23, 2022
Our Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams is a mural by Elaine Chu and Marina Perez-Wong, also known as Twin Walls Mural Company (TWMC). In this work, the artists deploy themes of healing and resiliency in response to imbalances stemming from COVID-19, generational trauma, pollution, and inequality, as well as to Perez-Wong’s ongoing battle with stage IV breast cancer. With symbols of wholeness and unity emanating from a sakura, or cherry blossom tree, the work imagines healing for the current world we live in, hope for ourselves and our loved ones, and a mindful preparedness for Perez-Wong as she embarks on her journey to recovery.
Lately TWMC has been studying chakras, centers of consciousness and life energy in the body, to find balance in their physical and spiritual selves. Anahata, the heart chakra, represented here by the sakura tree, is commonly associated with the lungs, breasts, and thymus, which regulate the immune system. Anahata is the center of love and healing, transforming physical energies into spiritual energies and vice versa. The tree’s strong roots—a reference to Muladhara, the root chakra—connect to the earth to create stability and security.
A circular force painted in shades of green pulsates around the tree, with stenciled designs by other women artists, activists, and healers lining each vibration. For TWMC, the inclusion of collective feminine energy stimulates recovery in their community and for the people who experience the mural, while also demonstrating how women support one another in significant ways. Finally, students from the Oakland School for the Arts and members of the Radical Monarchs—a social justice and self-empowerment organization for young girls of color—dance in triumph, resistance, and resilience atop sunken colonial ships, fallen monuments, and a destroyed border wall, embodying joy and advancing new possibilities for the future.
Our Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams was conceived and executed onsite by Twin Walls Mural Company with Priya Handa and Lisa Max, with additional contributions by Susan Cervantes, Cece Carpio, and Nancy Pili.
Major support for Bay Area Walls is provided by the Roberta and Steve Denning Commissioning Endowed Fund.
Generous support is provided by the Mary Jane Elmore West Coast Exhibition Fund, Randi and Bob Fisher, the Patricia W. Fitzpatrick Commissioning Endowed Fund, Katie Hall and Tom Knutsen, the Elaine McKeon Endowed Exhibition Fund, the Diana Nelson and John Atwater Commissioning Fund, and the Denise Littlefield Sobel Commissioning Endowed Fund.
Additional support is provided by Alka and Ravin Agrawal, Oya and Bulent Eczacibasi, and Linda and Jon Gruber in memory of Gretchen Berggruen.