Youth of color making Mesoamerican mural for Old Town coffee shop – Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon 2021-06-08 20:21:10 –

KOIN, Portland, Oregon — A new Mesoamerican-themed mural of young people of color from Portland has arrived at a Floyd coffee shop in downtown. Morpheus Youth Project..

“The mission of the Morpheus Youth Project is to build a community for young people through artistic and cultural workshops and programming. We are imprisoned at the Oregon Youth Bureau, Marion Youth Correction Facility, Martonoma County Boys and more. We are working with many youths who have been working with us, “Carlos Chavez, executive director of the Morpheus Youth Project, told KOIN 6 News.

Carlos Chavez, Executive Director of the Morpheus Youth Project. Monday, June 7, 2021 (KOIN).

In addition to mentoring and mural projects, the group hosts breakdance competitions and hip-hop jams, teaching multimedia journalism such as radio and video production. They also offer cultural lessons on the history of Chicano and African Americans for young people.

According to Chavez, the mural was commissioned by the owner of Floyd after the Aztec dance circle was staged at a coffee shop. The dance circle is called Yankuik Ohtli and one of its members is Ezequiel Vasquez, Executive Assistant to the Morpheus Youth Project. According to Chavez, the coffee shop owner contacted Basquez about making the mural.

Chavez said the artwork was done in a Mesoamerican style. He asked former MYP participant Thermil Lopez to create the design.

“He’s a talented artist, and I was able to outsource it to him, so I paid him some money to create the design,” Chavez said.

From that blueprint, Chavez created an outline, and many other youth members of the group used spray paint to help fill it under supervision. The painting started on Monday, but Chavez said he needed more painting to finish, so I don’t know when it will be fully finished.

A panoramic view of the upcoming Mesoamerican-themed mural can be found at Floyd, a coffee shop in Old Town, and has been commissioned by the nonprofit Morpheus Youth Project. Monday, June 7, 2021 (KOIN).

Twenty-five-year-old Ezekiel Basquez told KOIN 6 News that he had been imprisoned for Mac Laren Youth Correction in Woodburn when he began working with MYP. After serving for nine years in a crime, he said he was not involved in gangsters or criminal activity before he was released.

“Carlos was one of the mentors, and when I was released, he really gave me the opportunity to find a job, give back, and teach young people,” says Basquez.

Vasquez says that being able to identify himself as an indigenous people and work on the work of Indigenous Mexica is a meaningful opportunity to participate.

“I think having something that is part of our identity is a positive empowerment for all young people of color, all young people, especially those of us who are not well serviced. . “

Ezequiel Lavesk, Executive Assistant of the Morpheus Youth Project. Monday, June 7, 2021 (KOIN)

MYP addresses many communities left out of society, with a particular focus on the outside of East Portland and Gresham. They also do some work in different parts of Washington County and Portland, but Chavez said.

Vasquez said Portland currently has a great deal of interest in organizational issues and gun violence, so it’s important to continue to fund programs like MYP. ..

“We’re not from downtown, but from the East Side,” he said. “It’s a really violent place right now, so if you can get young people early, show that they don’t have to keep doing that, and show the roots of their ancestors, their identity. And very powerful for the purpose.

The name of the Aztec dance circle, Yankuiku Otori, Will be transformed into a “new road”, Basquez said. The phrase is in Nahuatl, the Uto-Azteka language group spoken by more than a million people in Mexico, Basquez said. The Dance Circle is a separate body from MYP, but it’s a group that includes young people at risk, female survivors of domestic violence, and others recovering from some trauma, Vasquez said. ..

MYP recently Metro Community Placemaking Grant Their work uses a variety of artistic media as a method of active intervention to guide endangered imprisoned youth and disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline.

Youth of color making Mesoamerican mural for Old Town coffee shop Source link Youth of color making Mesoamerican mural for Old Town coffee shop

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