Layqa Nuna Yawar, The Robeson Paean: Performer, 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.
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 engaged process; all of which aims to amplify the silenced narratives of people of color and migrant communities across the world. His work examines the power that public and representational art has in challenging injustice, racism, and xenophobia. This form of collective artmaking is part of a liberation struggle that helps celebrate and publicly reclaim diasporic narratives as well as imagine a better and brighter future.
Yawar received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University and his art can be found on walls, museums, and galleries across the world. He is currently the recipient of an Open Society Foundations: Moving Walls fellowship to develop projects that expand the possibilities and reach of mural art. He has been awarded participation in programming offered by Creative Capital, the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Tribeca Film Institute, as well as residencies with the Lower Eastside Printshop, the Newark Printshop, and the Brodsky Center. He has recently worked on educational programming with Philadelphia Mural Arts, Rutgers University, Casita Maria, Working Classroom, the United Nations’ World Food Programme, the Newark Library, and the Newark Museum. He has also curated and produced mural projects with various city administrations, art programs and private organizations in the USA and abroad.