By: Lyric Morris-Latchaw
It is so surreal to finally be able to say that after nearly 4 years of drawing and planning, countless city council meetings, hours of community engagement sessions and volunteer painting, this beauty is finally completed and in the world.
This mural means more to me than any other I’ve ever painted, for so many reasons. First, it is right around the corner from my home. It was such a joy to be painting for MY people in MY neighborhood; heartfelt thanks to all of the neighbors and friends who came by to say hello, bring snacks and coffee, and more. This is (I believe) the first mural painted in Norwood since public art was made legal here earlier this year, and I hope that his piece makes the city a more beautiful, inclusive, and welcoming place for us all.
Second, it is in collaboration with an organization that I care deeply about, and whose story has been interwoven with mine for many years. Lydia’s House provides housing for women and children in crisis and transition. Several years ago, they recognized that in addition to their shelter, there was a deep need in Cincinnati for long-term affordable housing for these guests after they moved out of the emergency housing. This building, the Virginia Coffey House, is their first long-term affordable housing unit for these women and children! They have always valued beauty and comfort, and hold a deep respect for the dignity and quality of life of their guests.
And finally, I am so moved by this imagery. Two women who lived at Lydia’s House at the time, helped me brainstorm this concept in 2018; I am so grateful for their vision! In America, there is a long history of pregnant bodies (especially those of women of color) being ignored, undervalued, and at worst the subjects of violence and fetishization. Art is powerful! And has real power in shaping the narratives in our communities. I pray that this image is one of strength, growth, and empowerment for all who see a piece of themselves in it!
Thank you to my painting assistants: Kayla Walker, Kenya Carter, and Anissa Pulcheon.