Titled Spirit of the Mississippi (Mississippi Water Protector), this work is a symbolic portrait of the fight for Indigenous water rights in the United States. The central figure is a female water protector; from her hands the veins of the Mississippi River flow out and around her. She is depicted as floating within a blue orb, which is representational of planet earth. The Mississippi can be thought of as the central nervous system of North America and its health is inextricably connected to the health and wellbeing of all living beings. This work seeks to engage the community in discussion and reflection on the power of water in our lives and the urgent need to protect this precious resource.
As a proud resident of St. Paul’s Creative Enterprise Zone, Wycliff is committed to fostering a diverse, dynamic work environment that inspires you every day. Our exterior murals and interior wall art reflect that commitment in bright, bold color.
Painstakingly installed by local artists and international muralists, each visual narrative tells a unique story of who we are—and where we’re going. Like brick-and-mortar tattoos that express the character of our neighborhood.
Read below to learn about the murals and the artists behind them. We hope these striking works of art will always remind you: When you work in the Wycliff building, you’re not just a tenant. You are part of a community of creative thinkers—striving together to turn vision into reality.
I am a contemporary aerosol artist whose work draws on the social, cultural, and natural history of site specific surfaces. I was raised in Tucson, Arizona where I was first exposed to public art through the murals that lined the Community Project complex my family lived in. As a self-taught artist, I developed my craft by learning alongside other graffiti writers in my community. This grassroots education and the trials that come from working in a street-culture medium outside of the traditional scope of fine art, influenced my understanding of public places and spaces - namely who they are for, and by extension, who was not welcome. Throughout my body of work, I explore this tension and seek to amplify the voices and narratives of those who have been disenfranchised and marginalized throughout history. I draw inspiration from my Mexican American and Indigenous heritage, and have engaged subjects from spirituality, evolution and civil rights. Because I work in large scale formats, I utilize harmonious color stories and paint element with a photo like quality that are intended to draw the viewer deeper into the work. In my portrait series, I play with allegory and the relationship between man and nature with the concept in mind that we come from the earth, and we return to the earth. I am deeply inspired by early American modernists and often use abstraction and pop art devices to layer meaning. It is very important to me that the work that I create carries the aesthetics are Graffiti culture and to keep pushing the boundaries of what can be created with the use of a spray can.
Based in the American Midwest, Nmph cut his teeth on graffiti at 15 and has since spent more than two decades silently chasing fulfillment through painting colorful, contorted letterforms across a variety of North American structures. Though still focused on building and evolving this pursuit, when it came to the merits of his studio efforts he decided to pivot and leave graffiti strictly to the arenas which it belongs. Nmph began to magnify and expand upon the designs and personality that fill and cushion his letters, shifting them into a distinguishable style of layered abstractions. Comprised of vibrant colors, gesturing-geometric shapes, and viscous-organic forms, these background traits became the foundation for his composition-heavy mural and studio work.
The Wycliff lobby mural was the creative inspiration of Studios Moss, an independent woman owned creative design firm from St. Paul, MN. Their passion is driven by the desire to be innovative, fresh, and unexpected. The lobby mural was commissioned by the building, looking to create a space that felt open, welcoming, and vibrant for their tenants and clients.
Golden fibers of a memory of us. Both are hearts longing and resting in an embrace that fades as a distant dead star. Time will conquer it all. Men will hurt each other. We will migrate in the hopes of dignity.
A fine line will divide us and my motherhood with your childhood will be resented. A wall of bricks between me and that of me in you. Borders embroidered in the skin of the land of none. Totems of inequity falling heavily on our heads, on our options.
I wish you always the safe caress of the sun that summer morning when you came and chose me. Broken, my heart takes its last beats in my hand as I watch you be taken away. Sealed and caged along with your innocence. Something is always ruined.
This mural is a commentary on motherhood and migration.
Fadlabi (b. 1975 in Omdurman) lives and works in Oslo. He was educated at the Art Academy in Oslo (KHiO), Al-Neelain University in Khartoum, and Sudan University. He works with painting, text, and performance. In 2008 he founded “One Night Only” an artist-run platform in Oslo that shows a new artist every Monday. Possibly, Norway’s most busy gallery. Between 2010- 2014 he worked with artist Lars Cuzner on European Attraction Limited, a contemporary rendition of a human zoo named The Congo Village and was part of the 1914 World Fair in Oslo. They re-enacted the village and opened it to the public in May 2014. His recent shows includes Sharjah Biennial 11 (Sharjah), Bergen Assembly (Bergen)The Museum of Contemporary Art (Oslo), Kunsthall (Oslo), UKS (Oslo), Munchmuseet i bevegelse (Oslo), NY Art-book fair (NY),Performa 15 NY (NY), Temporary Gallery (Cologne), Nile Sunset Annex (Cairo), Al Riwaq (Manamah), the Saudi Arts Council (Jeddah), Darat Al Funun (Amman) and Townhouse (Cairo).
The image is of a boy resting and taking in a sunset while nature begins to grow and flow through him. When I was a kid I would sit on my front porch after school and draw till the sun went down, in those moments I found that I was my most creative self at that time of day. I still draw upon this energy till this day and it’s become a source of inspiration for me to keep growing as an artist.
The colors that would pour from the sky and the orange glow that would illuminate everything really inspire my creativity and motivation. In this, I wanted to pay homage to the creators and entrepreneurs in the area to keep living out their dreams and visions. With each year comes gains and challenges but never forgot the inspiration that got you started in the first place.