Internationally acclaimed artist tackles her largest mural yet in West Philadelphia

Paul Kurtz
April 12, 2019 - 3:46 pm
Artist Faith 47

Paul Kurtz/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Mural Arts Philadelphia has commissioned an internationally acclaimed artist to create a masterpiece in West Philadelphia. 

Her street art can be found in cities all over the world, and come September Faith 47 will add Philadelphia to the map.    

The Cape Town, South Africa native will lead a team of six on one of the biggest and most ambitious projects in Mural Arts history.

The painting of a woman holding a branch will take up the entire eastside of the 19-story University Square housing development at 39th and Market Streets.

"I was interested in making a figure that was like a guardian, kind of like a Madonna,” she explained. “Like a feminine, nurturing figure that is caring and looking after the inhabitants of the building and society in general."

"Well I just love it," said Mural Arts Executive Director Jane Golden. "Because it's just this feeling of being protected by a woman who looks angelic, and she's looking both down at the area and she's looking slightly out at the city. For me she's not only protecting the space, but she's saying this is our space."

Paul Kurtz/KYW Newsradio

The project is expected to be completed in two-three weeks.

Faith 47 says she and her team will set up a studio in the basement of the building and work simultaneously on three walls. 

Golden says she's been a fan for a long time, and even met her a few years ago. At that time Faith 47 expressed an interest in working with Mural Arts on a project someday. 

When the West Philadelphia site opened up, a search team that included residents of University Square went through a list of potential artists for the project and chose Faith.

She says this too will be her largest project.

"It's something I'm really looking forward to,” she said. “Just the impact you can have on a community and bringing art and something positive into a space – I’m grateful to have that opportunity.

Faith 47's real name is unknown. 

"The mural is really just about community and caring and nurturing,” she added. “Also bringing the feminine aspect is part of that."