With Flying Colors

Diane Oh/Staff Photographer

The UC Irvine Cross-Cultural Center plans to unveil the building’s third student-made mural on Thursday, Sept. 22 from 4 to 6:30 p.m., just in time for the new school year.

After a year of preparations and a summer of actual construction, this piece of artwork representing cultural unity will soon be on display for the public’s enjoyment. The mural is currently hanging outside of the Dr. White Room on the ground floor of the Cross- Cultural Center, but the image will remain covered with a sheet until its revealing on Thursday.

The initial idea for the mural developed after the Cross-Cultural Center was given additional building space about three and a half years ago. The renovation ended up leaving a blank, white wall that needed to be filled with something. After much contemplation, several faculty members and students decided that another mural needed to be put in that space.

From there, a team was formed with people who could plan, develop, organize and construct the artwork for the building.

The mural is divided into four sections that represent various aspects of the Cross-Cultural Center’s core values.

The bottom half of the mural is three-dimensional and is comprised of intertwining fabric.

“The intertwining fabric really represents the cross-cultural component to our center … how we intersect and interact with one another,” said Kevin Huie, Director of the Cross Cultural Center. “It really represents the community.”

The second top half contains a watermark image or shadow that resembles a person. The person pictured does not have a gender – the viewer is unable to distinguish whether or not the individual is a man, woman, transgender or any other form of identification.

“That was intentional because it’s supposed to represent any kind of student,” said Huie when describing the significance of the image.

In a third section of the mural, which is also located on the top half, there is an inverted map.

“We want to empower and motivate our students to look at the world differently,” Huie said. “The inverted map was sort of our idea to represent that idea of looking at the world in a different way.”

The fourth component of the mural can be seen within the fabric. Students who were involved in making the mural were asked to write down quotations from people in the past that inspired them. There are about 12 quotations that are written throughout the mural. Several of the quotations come from people who have done past social justice work.

In order to construct these different parts of the mural, students from all over campus were invited to come to “Evening Sessions” at the Cross-Cultural Center over the summer of 2011. It was during this time where they could contribute their creativity and work on the mural.

Several students brought in their own fabrics, and some even donated their old baby clothes for the piece.

Aside from student donations of fabric, the funding for the rest of the materials needed in the mural was sponsored by the Cross- Cultural Center and several of their affiliated organizations.

Many people were involved in making and planning the mural, but there were a few integral people who really made this piece of artwork possible.

Yaron Hakim, a UCI graduate student studying studio art, helped with the facilitation of the project.

Another person who greatly contributed to the project was Edi Dai, a UCI alumnus with a bachelor’s in studio art. She coordinated important aspects, purchased materials and recruited interested participants.

“Those two people spent quite a bit of energy and time moving the project forward,” Huie said. “But there were a number of students from different student organizations that took part.”

The unveiling of the mural on Thursday, Sept. 22 will take place in conjunction with the Cross- Cultural Center’s Open House. People will be able to tour the center, look at other new art in the center, and hear from student artists who created the pieces.

The unveiling ceremony will start at about 5 p.m. and will feature speeches from the Interim Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, Yaron Hakim and Kevin Huie. After the speeches and unveiling, a barbeque will take place outside.

“One of the things that has always been important to the Cross Cultural Center is the legacy of the murals,” Huie said.

“The first two murals have really defined what the multi-cultural movement was about in higher education. I think that it was only appropriate for us to do this again, knowing that we are in a critical time for public education because of the budget and some of the things that have challenged the UC system. We felt that it was a good time to do another mural like this – we are ecstatic about it.”