Acclaimed muralist Maxx Moses is painting a new work along Porter Avenue at the D’Youville Campus. Moses made the trip to Buffalo from California, after being selected for the “socially and timely” job.
Moses says that the work – titled Black Matter is Life – speaks to the current social state of affairs in our country, and across the planet. With COVID-19 running rampant, and police brutality on black men making daily headlines, it was time for Moses to make the journey to Buffalo to dedicate his energy to the cause. “There’s a sense of urgency here,” he says. “We need revolutionary actions… a more universal consciousness.”
Moses, who actually attended SUNY Brockport over 30 years ago, says that he used to drive to Buffalo to paint T-shirts at Juneteenth festivals – he says that Buffalo has changed a lot since he last visited, and is honored to be contributing to the city in this special way. It is a coincidence that Moses happened to be painting this particular mural during the 2020 Juneteenth celebration, hampered by COVID-19. Or is it?
Taking a look at the mural thus far, Moses is preparing viewers for a trip into the past, as well as the future via seamless cycles of time. He refers to the experience as a sort of future memory. “Black people were the first people on the planet,” says Moses. “Black Matter is Life – this is three steps beyond Black Lives Matter. I’m painting a black man who stands beautiful, strong, and naked, in a way that we never see the black male portrayed. Why is the black man never represented this way?”
Moses also notes that since he is painting the mural on a Catholic campus, he felt that it was important to paint a divine halo around the head of the subject. He also added some Egyptian imagery for his “ancient future” beliefs. “Life is eternal,” ponders Moses. “It’s all about connectedness. We must contemplate what is real…”
This work is being painted at corner of Porter Avenue and Fargo, in the same spot that Buffalo artist Casey Milbrand painted a sidewalk mural for National Coming Out Day back in 2019.
Apparently this corner building is also in line for a glass enclosure on the first floor, which will help to protect the murals for from the elements, while providing a more modern interior vantage point for students.
Moreover, the mural is in place to address racial justice.
“It is imperative that every leader in our nation look at their privileged position as an opportunity to influence societal change,” says D’Youville President Lorrie Clemo, PhD. “It the duty and responsibility of leaders to provide space for efforts to flourish and to encourage the communities entrusted to them to both act and self-examine. No collection of human beings is perfect, nor is D’Youville. However, this effort is our means to say that from a leadership level, we will do what is necessary as an advocate and an ally to support systemic change.”
Along with this “Awareness Through Art” campaign, D’Youville is also implementing an “Accessibility Through Scholarships” program, along with additional “Long-Term, Actionable Efforts.”