Rakhee Jain Desai showcases stories of the immigrant experience.
Photo courtesy of Phillip Rogers
AUSTIN, Texas – In a new mural now on display at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, artist, Rakhee Jain Desai, uses her inventive and artistic capabilities to showcase stories of the immigrant experience in Austin, and their hopes for the future.
“A Place to Call Home” is a large 12 ft. x 6 ft. public art piece made from painted upcycled cloth, covered in clear resin for protection.
In creating the mural, Desai hosted twenty vision workshops at her art studio in Austin where immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers helped create and illustrate their own visions of what they’re looking for in their newfound home. They each created illustrations that recall memories of their native countries, as well as their feelings about calling the City of Austin their new home.
The participants all worked on pieces of used cotton sheets that were brought in from numerous refugee centers and neighborhoods in Austin. The sheets were dyed using Batik, a centuries-old wax-resist dyeing technique.
Desai’s mission for this artwork was to be able to portray a vision of the home that all people are searching for – a home is not defined by where one was born, but where one sees their own future and knows that despite any or all obstacles, it can be achieved.
“A Place to Call Home” is located outside of airport security near Baggage Claim 1 for all travelers and non-travelers interested in seeing the mural. A link to YouTube where you can watch a brief video showing the people and steps it took to create this amazing artwork is available here: youtu.be/zd1itSUwAlI
This project was made possible by TEMPO, the Austin Art In Public Places temporary public art program which aims to enrich civic dialogue about public art, cultivate tourism, and engage public spaces in a unique way. TEMPO 2D has commissioned 12 new murals around the city to be in place for one year. Art in Public Places is a program of the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department. www.austintexas.gov/tempo