To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Identity, a group of High School students from Wheaton’s KnightTime Program turned shards of glass and mirrors into a spectacular mosaic mural to represent what Identity means to them. The work, called “Celebrating Identity” is full of symbols of their hope and aspirations, their connection to each other and the community, and the Identity family that allows them to grow and blossom.
Twenty students had a hand in the project, with a core group of six who were able to work on the project more consistently over several weeks with Artivate’s Carien Quiroga. Quiroga led the students in the conception, design and construction. At the unveiling she pointed out the connection between this art form and the immigrant experience, saying “The very nature of the mosaic-making process is rebuilding, reconstructing and creating new imagery out of broken shards of glass and may serve as a reminder of the immigrant experience of rebuilding lives in a new country and of creating new lives, in a different culture while holding on to the pieces of their own cultural heritage.”
The youth, who have experienced the Latino immigrant journey and the challenge of thriving in a new language and culture, brainstormed ideas and drew sketches that were combined into the final design that includes buildings, kites and balloons, figures holding the world, the four seasons and wind swirls, tree branches, flowers, and a dove of peace. Students learned mosaic-making and fused glass techniques as they each created their individual pieces that are integrated into the mural.
It is now a permanent reminder of the dreams and aspirations of Identity youth, and the impact of helping them reach their full potential.