Gravity Mural ProjectYa La'ford

June 25 through August 18, 2024

Ya La’ford and Mt. Zion Christian Academy, Gravity (Panels 3 and 4), 2024, Acrylic on canvas, Courtesy of the Artist

The Gravity Mural Project—the work of St. Petersburg artist Ya La’ford and a group of students from Mount Zion Christian Academy—highlights the groundbreaking style of Abstract Expressionist Jackson Pollock (1912-1956). The four canvases in this gallery emulate his iconic drip painting technique that engages movement, energy, motion, and spontaneity. To create these works, La’ford explored Pollock’s painting process with the students. She then worked with them to use paint to express themselves through motion, gesture, and rhythmic movement. This creative experience allowed them to understand how gravity relates to the drop, flow, and splatter of paint when creating spontaneous compositions. La’ford added geometric patterns symbolizing the students’ resilience, identity, and belonging to complete the mural. These intricate shapes also infuse the mural with layers of perspective, reflecting the complex narratives of our community and the interconnectedness of individual and collective histories.

The Gravity Mural Project explores how personal and shared experiences shape who we are. Each geometric element represents a piece of a larger puzzle, illustrating the idea that we are all part of a greater whole. The mural’s combination of abstract, gestural painting and carefully ordered geometry invites us to consider the themes of resilience in the face of adversity, the search for identity, and the sense of belonging within a community.