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News > Committee News > Southeast by Southeast Project (ASIAN ARCHITECTS / DESIGNERS / ARTISTS OF PHILLY)


This story is part of a series featuring Asian Architects / Designers / Artists of Philly
Photos of murals in South Philly designed by Shira Walinsky & Miriam Singer
Photos of murals in South Philly designed by Shira Walinsky & Miriam Singer


Urban Design

This story is part of a series featuring Asian Architects / Designers / Artists of Philly. We will be highlighting incredible murals that are a part of Mural Arts Philadelphia, urban street art that is part of Philadelphia Museum of Art's collection or other collections, urban spaces that embody Asian culture, and buildings designed by some of the most renowned architects from around the world. We will be featuring short blog posts written by members of Urban Design Committee, as well as guest posts by Committee on the Environment, Environmental Justice subcommittee. Stay tuned for more!

“Southeast by Southeast” Art & Community Project

Far away from Southeast Asia, right in the heart of Southeast Philadelphia, Bhutanese and Burmese refugees created their place and community where they can safely come back to. A collaboration project between the Mural Arts Program, the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disability services, the Philadelphia Refugee Mental Health Collaborative, and the Hummingbird Foundation produced an art project that helped refugees freely share their stories, history and knowledge through art therapy. 

Shira Walinsky & Miriam Singer took a step on developing murals in South Philadelphia, supporting the initiative. Walinsky and Singer interviewed and worked with many refugees to find what they were looking for in a new country, what inspires them and how they would like to improve their life. Walinsky believes that “It's not only the art making process, which is big, but people's interaction in the process.”[1]  The place, Bhutanese and Burmese center, is a sort of remedy for the entire community, where they can gather together, create art, dance, learn and communicate. The murals nonetheless the values of Asian culture. New murals show mountains and agriculture that remind immigrants of their home. The culture and heritage is expressed with images of temples and animals. Immigrants' traveling experience to Philadelphia is shown in airplanes and cities. 

All arts are very different but at the same time artists used similar graphical vocabulary that connect to traditional textile, expressive color palette and drawings of landscapes that represent Bhutanese and Burmese' lands. 

Miriam Singer designed a few smaller pieces right at the storefront of the community, which reveal and introduce Bhutanese and Burmese community to South Philly. [1]

Photo: Steve Weinik.

Shira Walinsky designed a few larger murals in South Philadelphia. One of the murals located is an Archetypal Asian tiger with patterns derived to Bhutanese, Karen, and Chin Burmese textiles. [5]

Photo: Steve Weinik.

Another, located on 7th & Emily Street, is mountains expressed in vibrant colors. Rural houses show traditional architecture of Bhutanese and Burmese areas. The mural also shows airplanes that take people to the new land. [3]


Photo: Steve Weinik.

The mural “Farming Up the Mountain” in Philadelphia on 8th and Emily street talks about agriculture traits of the Bhutanese and Burmese community. [4] The context surrounding the mural also responds to its design. The mural is located in the most beautiful garden that is cared for by the community. 

Photo: Shira Walinsky










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