Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory - Central High School
The 4,000 sq ft mural is fabricated with a variety of media including glass mosaic tile, cut glass mosaic, and acrylic paint. One hundred students from Central High School participated in the design process, fabrication and installation. The site is the school's large exterior wall, facing the football/track field (Crump Stadium). Some key concepts to this mural, as described by the artist are:
- 50 years since the MLK assassination
- Truth and reconciliation needed in Memphis
- Central High students understand the deep issues that face the city and are adept at discussing the root causes of socioeconomic distress and racial bigotry.
- This mural is about "Interbeing", a word first coined by Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh, a close ally to Martin Luther King, Jr, and a leader who promotes peace, truth, and reconciliation throughout the world.
- "Interbeing" describes the interrelationship between all people, the environment, and the world as a whole
- The mural has two main hands embracing a broken sphere. this sphere represents the human spirit as well as the spirit of Memphis. The hands are gently piecing the spirit ball back together- making it whole again. Wounds of the past can be healed, but the "scar" does not disappear.
- As the word "interbeing" describes, the past is present in our everyday interactions, and in order to fully understand why there is pain and suffering, we must also understand happiness and joy. In this mural, the joy is the color in the movement of line and the almost touching of the two hands.
- Finally, the title of the mural "Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory (Take my hand Sweet Lord)" because these were the last public words spoken by Dr. King in his speech to support the sanitation worker's strike. "Take my hand" were the last words uttered by Dr. King as he lay dying in front of door #306 at the Lorraine Motel (fyi "#306" the numerical address of Central High School). It is the "Interbeing" of Memphis history, the sadness and joy, that define this mural project. For without sadness, there is no joy, and without happiness, there can be no despair. This simple understanding- that history affects our present lives while the students at Central affect history- will go a long way towards finding truth and exploring reconciliation. Armed with this revelation, honest and open dialogue can take place, and the broken sphere can be healed.
About the Artist
Joshua Sarantitis has been creating monumental professional work in public spaces for over 20 years. His 45 commissioned works include glass installations and mosaic murals located regionally and abroad including San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Phoenix and Tucson. His ability to collaborate successfully with design professionals, arts administrators and community is rooted in a desire to find common language between our everyday lives and the arts. Joshua embraces using technology as a tool to aid in mastering media including slumped and fused glass, mosaic, plasma-cut steel, concrete, glass frit, ceramic toner on glass, ceramic tile and paint and fiber. He combines the desire for learning with the skilled execution of an accomplished technician.
The question that drives Joshua’s practice is how to create artwork that is inclusive of the public. Many of his projects will incorporate community components that allow for hands-on learning, demystifying the process and the product for the public. He is not afraid to take risks in finding design solutions, including the creation of technical methodologies, and is comfortable working on all aspects of a commission, including site-specific engineering, fabrication and installation. Sarantitis’ diverse life experience, combined with architectural sensitivity and use of new media and technology, allows for public works of art that speak to a wider audience.