New mural project despicts Westport’s past, present and future

Iyaba Ibo Mandigo and “The Ground Beneath Their Feet.”

Iyaba Ibo Mandigo and “The Ground Beneath Their Feet.”

Westport Arts Advisory Committee / Contributed photo

WESTPORT — Several murals were recently unveiled downtown, depicting the town’s past, present and future.

The original paintings are part of “Westport Illustrated,” a series of five murals commissioned by the Westport Arts Advisory Committee. The paintings are along the walkway between Main Street and Bedford Square.

Each one represents a different aspect of life in Westport, beginning with the indigenous people and moving across the wall — and through the town’s history — to a mural envisioning what the town might look like in 2070.

Dozens of people gathered downtown Saturday afternoon to witness the “unwrapping” of the paintings.

The project originated when David Waldman, of David Adam Realty, approached the arts committee with a thought. He wondered if the flood gates on the outer brick wall of Anthropologie that are no longer used could instead hold art.

As a result, WAAC took over the idea and the mural project began.

The town’s new history panels had just gone up outside town hall and on Elm Street and so the committee chose to follow that lead and illustrate Westport with art. It commissioned five local artists to execute the mural project, with support from the Drew Friedman Community Arts Center.

The artists are reflective of the larger Fairfield County community too.

Westport resident Eric Chiang exhibits locally, in his native Taiwan, and is one of the founding members of the Artist Collective of Westport. Hernan Garcia, from Norwalk, was born in Bogota, Colombia and is trained in both architecture and fine arts. Jana Ireijo of Westport is founder of “Mural Ethos,” creating vanishing murals to illustrate the effects of climate change. Antigua native Iyaba Ibo Mandingo is a painter, poet, writer, actor and playwright living in Bridgeport.

Staples alumna Rebecca Ross, who graduated from Pratt Institute with a degree in illustration, turned to current Staples students for their thoughts on what Westport would look like in 2070 for her painting.

Miggs Burroughs of Westport curated the selections.

The “Westport Illustrated” mural project is a permanent installation.