Layqa Nuna Yawar, The Robeson Paean: Actor, 2019. Wall mural, 229 1/2 x 72 x 3 3/4 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Paul Robeson Galleries. Photography by Luisa Pinzon.
The Paul Robeson Galleries commissioned the creation of three murals celebrating the life of our namesake to mark our 40th anniversary. Layqa Nuna Yawar’s The Robeson Paean focuses on Robeson’s creative output as a performer, activist, and human.
Paul Robeson (1898 – 1976) was an American singer, stage and film actor, football player, lawyer and activist. He was renowned for both his cultural and political contributions to society. He was a graduate of Rutgers University. He once stated “Artists are the gatekeepers of the truth. We are civilization’s radical voice.” His lifelong commitment to the arts and accessibility for all is the foundation to which the programming of the Paul Robeson Galleries is built.
Layqa Nuna Yawar was born in Cuenca, Ecuador, and lives in Newark, New Jersey. Working in the space between migrant alienation and belonging, he makes work on paper, canvas, and sculpture as well as large scale murals that are the result of a socially engages process; all of which aims to amplify the silenced narratives of people of color and migrant communities across the world.