Walls for a Cause NYC

Walls for a Cause NYC, a multi-site public art exhibition and philanthropic initiative, launched in the late fall of 2020. Curated by Joeonna Bellorado-Samuels of gallery We Buy Gold and Diana Nawi for Orange Barrel Media, the project presents commissioned paintings from nine contemporary artists in the form of large-scale murals on prominent OBM wallscapes throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan. Participating artists include Felipe Baeza, María Berrío, Theresa Chromati, Ariel Dannielle, Chioma Ebinama, Marcus Jahmal, Christopher Myers, Naudline Pierre, and Ilana Savdie. Murals were display for residents and visitors throughout 2021 in rotation with commercial messaging. The original paintings were featured in an online exhibition called On the Other Side of Something by We Buy Gold from January 21 – March 24, 2021. A percentage of the sale of each piece was donated to support NYC nonprofit Project EATS, a neighborhood-based initiative that uses art, urban agriculture, partnerships, and social enterprise to sustainably produce and equitably distribute essential resources within and between our communities.

  • Ariel Danielle

  • Felipe Baeza

  • Marcus Jahmal

  • Christopher Myers

Photo Credit: Paul Takeuchi

Naudline Pierre

Too Much, Not Enough, 2020

Oil on canvas
60 x 40 inches
Courtesy of the artist

Naudline Pierre creates works that explore a mysterious alternate universe populated by characters that often interact with each other in tender ways. She employs imagery from art historical references while building her personal mythology, depicting spiritual tableaus and portraits in an imaginary, fantasy world. Situated at the middle of the painting Too Much, Not Enough is an embodied, mauve-hued woman-seemingly an avatar for the artist herself-surrounded by angelic Black figures whose textured wings and radiating crown-like halos encircle her. The dense purple flesh of the central figure is contrasted against the more loosely rendered seraphic beings, the terrestrial situated among the ethereal. The resulting image is one of divine Black femmehood, conjuring the protective possibilities of the celestial and otherworldly in the day-to-day.

María Berrío

Miracles of Ordinary Light, 2020

Collage with Japanese paper and watercolour paint on canvas
92 x 118 x 2 inches
Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro

María Berrío is best known for her intricate representational works that imbue scenes, both quotidian and extraordinary, with a labor-intensive, textile-like surface. Collaging together small pieces of colored Japanese and hand-painted paper, the artist creates painterly but iconographic works. Her subject matter ranges, drawing from the folkloric and mythological to the biographical, and the resulting images suggest narrative tableaus of commune, refuge, and harmony between nature and people, as well as quiet scenes of danger drawn from our contemporary context. Her contribution to this project is an image of a citrus tree, its brightly colored leaves and fruits a multifaceted refraction of light. The unpopulated but inviting landscape offers us, the viewer, a lush place in the shade to rest a moment.

Photo Credit: Ariel Danielle

Ariel Danielle

Luxuriate Disorder, 2019

Acrylic on canvas
72 x 131 ½ inches
Courtesy of the artist

This work, a self portrait of the artist, pictures her in a large, open bathroom; it is an image of the self that is both powerful and informal, focusing on the pleasures of domestic ritual. At the fore, she lies across a divan filing her nails and looking directly out at the viewer-her pose is relaxed but her gaze is focused. The background of the image reveals many details, from personal and familiar objects such as underwear strewn about and a lush houseplant to the striking inclusion of a version of one of the artist’s earlier paintings. This staged, frontal scene is punctuated by the discreet presence of a leg stepping into the overfilled and overflowing bathtub behind her, revealing the comfortable intimacies of daily life.

Photo Credit: Chioma Ebinama

Chioma Ebinama

Portrait of my beloved as an orchid, 2020

Watercolor on handmade Indian recycled cotton rag paper
9 x 10 ½ inches
Courtesy Fortnight Institute

Lovers, 2020

Watercolor and sumi ink on handmade Indian recycled cotton rag paper
6½ x 6 ¼ inches
Courtesy Fortnight Institute

Hugging Party, 2020

Watercolor on handmade Indian recycled cotton rag paper
8 x 9 inches
Courtesy Fortnight Institute

Lovers in the Grove, 2020

Watercolor on handmade Indian recycled cotton rag paper
6 x 6 ½ inches
Courtesy Fortnight Institute

Chioma Ebinama typically works in watercolor and ink, lending her talismanic images a sometimes ghostly, ephemeral quality. Drawing from her body of work Now I only believe in…love, Ebinama has brought together four works that suggest both familiar life and otherworldliness. Portrait of my beloved as an orchid shows isolated delicately rendered flowers, a kind of stylized botanical study of which the true subject is love. This emphasis on the natural world and the tenderness of our relationships is reflected in the surreal and layered flora that encircle the intertwined lovers of the last image. Their embrace, like the supportive, encompassing grasp of friends, family, or perhaps even strangers that we see in Hugging Party, suggest the necessary magic of the intimacies that sustains us

Photo Credit: Adam Reich

Theresa Chromati

rested erection, moment collision ( she is watching and I am shifting ), 2020

Acrylic and glitter on canvas
50 x 25 inches
Courtesy of the artist and Kravets Wehby Gallery. New York

Theresa Chromati’s narrative figurative imagery is obscured and distorted through a lens of abstraction. Employing dynamic lines, bold patterns, and radiating colors her characters weave through amorphous settings on a truth seeking inner journey. The works often hold space for sustained observation to make out the women and objects that populate them as they seem to merge with their surroundings, fragmenting and coalescing across the canvas. Chromati’s new painting features a contorted body at its center with extending limbs and extremities breaking up the surface of the work while reaching for a scrotum flower, the artist’s motif for balance. The figure’s face is an expressive, swirling storm of emotion and blue glitter, seeming to transform before our eyes and, as in much of the artist’s work, suggesting the ever shifting terms of self and identity.

Photo Credit: Brad Farwell

Felipe Baeza

Unruly Suspension, 2020

Ink, graphite, flashe, cut paper, acrylic, watercolor, varnish, and embroidery on panel
14 × 11 inches
Courtesy of the artist and Maureen Paley. London/Hove

Felipe Baeza has a background in printmaking, and his attention to materiality, texture, layering, and surface is evident in his paintings and drawings. His ongoing investigations deal with bodies in flux as they transform, dematerialize, and fuse with the natural world and one another. These bodies are often traveling through interstitial spaces in search of a new landscape where they where they are free from regulation and oppression. Unruly Suspension exemplifies this impulse as a body seems to hang or float in midair, overtaken, or perhaps merging with, an ambiguous purple form. Thread has been patterned across this shape and hangs down the surface of the work, adding to the sensation that the body is defying gravity and reaching beyond itself.

Photo Credit: John Dennis

Ilana Savdie

Entrañadas, 2020

Oil, acrylic, and pigmented wax on canvas mounted on panel
58 × 48 inches
Courtesy of the artist

Ilana Savdie’s work deals with themes around invasion, control, defiance, and the ways in which power is propelled and mediated through bodies. A particular focus is placed on the carnivalesque themes of defiance through the inversion of social norms and the exaggerated body as a form of mockery and protest. Entrañadas is part of a larger series of works that feature aspects of the Marimoda, a fantastical, brightly costumed figure who appears in the Carnaval de Barranquilla-the Colombian city where Savdie was raised-and who emerged as a means to ridicule the elite. These paintings reflect and embellish aspects of this folkloric tradition, exploring both its aesthetic, and more significantly, its political and social histories of subversion. The central figure of Sadie’s painting is surreal and grotesque, but even atop an abstracted ground, it is visceral and familiar-it is an unbound body; a body in flux, pain, revolt, and transformation.

Photo Credit: Dan Bradica

Marcus Jahmal

Ocean interior, 2020

Oil on canvas
100 × 80 × 1 ½ inches
Courtesy of the artist and Almine Rech

Marcus Jamal’s paintings are grounded in the observed and imagined moments of daily life-they feature subjects and details drawn from the familiar and inscribed with an expressive surreality that takes its inspiration from a range of visual lineages.

The artist’s new work features a shirtless man seated in a gold chair crossing his arms over his chest, his fists tightly closed; it is a protective and powerful gesture, at once drawing himself inward and shielding his body. The quick and open brushstrokes that comprise the background and the man’s jeans are in contrast to the clear, graphic style in which his face and striking red hat are depicted. With his eyes focused outside the frame of the image, Jahmal’s subject seems to reside in an interior world beyond us.

Christopher Myers

My Body is a Burning House, 2020

18 × 24 inches
Courtesy of the artist

Christopher Myers works between mediums and forms creating encompassing and boldly iconographic images that often focus on the figure. Exploring the figure as both an embodied self and mythological being, his works suggest the larger narratives of history and the spiritual. My Body is a Burning House is a collage that depicts the image its title describes- Black man’s torso transformed into a grid of windows engulfed in flames. His lower body is composed of images of wreckage that implies the destruction we are witnessing, but the graceful pose of his hand and seemingly still face suggests that this is not a momentary catastrophe but the kind of acute terror that burdens the everyday.

Featured Artists