Detroit-based artist Pat Perry travels widely to create drawings, paintings, and murals inspired by the diverse cultures and landscapes of different parts of the world, often with an eye toward forgotten or marginalized people and places. Partnering with aptART and the Good Works Foundation, Perry’s most recent project took him to Maine and Iraq, where he collaboratively designed and painted a pair of murals with local schoolchildren. The two fifth grade classes, located over 5,600 miles apart in Biddeford and Slemani, got to know each other by exchanging videos and artwork. They then assisted Perry with painting their own messages on the new murals.
The resulting project, OPENING LINES, depicts a child in each mural holding a red telephone. Because their backs are turned, the viewer can imagine whether each subject is speaking or listening. Surrounding each figure are doodles and messages written in both English and Arabic by Perry’s young collaborators. Samantha Robison of aptART tells Colossal, “With cultural overlap across the globe unavoidable, the peril of stereotype can be lessened by individual, personal acquaintances across borders; a literal face rather than an idea of one. The most integral part of equality is providing platforms for people to speak, to create, to be listened to.”
The video below offers a glimpse behind the scenes of OPENING LINES. You can follow along with aptART’s youth programming on Instagram and explore more of Perry’s wide-ranging humanist work (including limited edition prints) on his website and Instagram.