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Our campus as a canvas

The pedestrian bridge that traverses the MBTA tracks and connects the Columbus Avenue parking structure to Northeastern’s main campus has undergone a colorful transformation, thanks to a new initiative that will bring more public art to campus.

Daniel Anguilu, a Northeastern artist-in-residence last week, was commissioned to paint a mural on the bridge’s retaining wall that faces the Curry Student Center. He started painting last week and finished earlier this week. After one day of work, the gray-colored wall was already transformed with swaths of vivid color.

The new public art initiative will provide faculty, students, and artists from around the world “canvases” throughout campus—in highly visible and sometimes unexpected places—to display their works for the entire campus community to experience. The organizing committee reviewed works of about 50 artists before selecting Anguilu.

“Northeastern is an innovative, diverse, urban community,” said President Joseph E. Aoun. “We love to use our campus as a canvas.”

Anguilu, a Houston resident, has painted murals in the U.S., Mexico, Peru, and Italy. Bree Edwards, director of Northeastern Center for the Arts in the College of Arts, Media, and Design, noted that Anguilu’s engaging personality, joy for his work, and use of vibrant colors were among the reasons he was selected. Last week, he interacted with onlookers and passersby, incorporating the energy from those interactions into the mural.

Viewers may note that much of the imagery within the mural references One Hundred Years of Solitude, by the renowned Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez, who died on April 17, just days before Anguilu arrived on campus. “That book is really powerful,” said Anguilu of García Márquez’s most famous work. Anguilu spent time rereading portions of the book during his stay, and his hope is that the mural will inspire others to read and learn from it, as well.

Artist Daniel Anguilu's began working on his mural on campus last week. Photo by Mariah Tauger.

Artist Daniel Anguilu began working on his mural on campus last week. Photo by Mariah Tauger.