“This ‘BUILD’ mural is here to honor you, where you come from, and where you’re going. It is a thank you for all the gifts you’re leaving behind to guide and fuel others who follow.”
In the letters, left to right: Saiyare Refaei, local artist, activist and overall wonderful human being. DerRon Jr. McCoy & Darrell McCoy, two young men growing up together with Tacoma as their hometown. Nicci Montgomery, local artist, writer, community minded creator and beloved aunty.
Voice recording by Matanofo Porter
“Every leader starts from somewhere. They push through what seems like inexhaustible resistance, and even when the body and spirit are tired they find a way to bring their communities into a brighter day. It’s hard work and not everyone can do it. I for one can’t claim to be a strong leader. The courage, confidence and stamina required to lead or spearhead big tasks often escape me. But there is one thing I’ve learned from working with and watching other artists and leaders in the Hilltop neighborhood, and that is integrity is everything. Working through your personal stuff and still making space to do work in the community is a beautiful thing, but it has to be done responsibly. It’s a subtle but powerful move to give what you can when you can, and make it count.”
“This project has taught me that talent, while magical in the eyes of others, isn’t always something you feel you can really trust to show up and be there throughout the entire journey. That it’s natural to second guess your abilities part way through, and feel insecure about what little contributions you feel you can make. I learned that however long it takes for you and your gifts to build a relationship of trust, what you’re doing is beautiful and everything is fine.”
“This “BUILD” mural is here to honor you, where you come from, and where you’re going. It is a thank you for all the gifts you’re leaving behind to guide and fuel others who follow. You don’t need to save the world, you don’t have to lead. Just know that building blocks are beautiful and valuable things. Use them when you can find them, create them when you can’t.”
See more of Matanofo Porter’s work on Instagram at: @itsjust_nofo