New mural in St. Albans inspired by community activists

Courtesy of NYC Commission on Human Rights

The artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh created a large-scale mural unveiled on April 12 at St. Albans’ Daniel O’Connell Park along Murdock Avenue inspired by women she met in community conversations, and text capturing their experiences facing the daily indignities of gender-based street harassment.

“We are thrilled to celebrate the installation of Tatyana’s large-scale mural inspired by local community activists,” said NYC Commission on Human Rights Commissioner and Chair Carmelyn Malalis. “The central theme of Tatyana’s work, centering the images, experiences and voices of Black people and women, to examine systemic racism and misogyny, inspire us at the Commission to think about creative ways to challenge systems and paradigms of oppression, whether it be through law, art, storytelling or other means.”

Fazlalizadeh in a Black/Iranian visual artist and Oklahoma City native currently in her second year in residence with the Commission. Her project Stop Telling Women to Smile is a street art series that tackles gender-based street harassment around the world.

“The partnership between CCHR and Tatyana Fazlalizadeh exemplifies the collaborative potential to grow meaningful connections between city agencies and the New Yorkers they serve,” Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl said. “In this case, this extraordinary mural and the community-centered process of creating it have opened much-needed discussion about the all too-common experience of race- and gender-based street harassment that nobody should have to endure.”

For more than 50 years, NYC Parks’ Art in the Park program has brought contemporary public artworks to its green spaces, making New York City one of the world’s largest open-air galleries.

“Not only will Tatyana’s mural beautify the border of Daniel O’Connell Park, it will provoke thoughtful discussion about the importance of diverse voices in our communities,” NYC Parks Queens Borough Commissioner Michael Dockett said. “Parks is proud to partner with the Department of Cultural Affairs and the Commission on Human Rights to display such a moving work of art.”

The work will remain up for one year.

“I hope that park goers will appreciate and feel inspired by the meaningfulness of this mural, state Senator Leroy Comrie said. Assemblyman Clyde Vanel thanked the city agencies for choosing St. Albans for the project.

“It’s a privilege to be able to turn pain into something that is beautiful and to learn, build and grow,” he said.

Councilman I. Daneek Miller, the co-chair of the Council’s Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus agreed, thanking the agencies for selecting Daniel O’Connell Park to showcase the artwork.

“Our southeast Queens community has long been sustained by a rich, but often overlooked cultural arts movement,” Miller said. “We are proud to host one of the many spectacular and socially conscious works of Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. Such forms of expression are reflective of our identity as individuals, a native people, and society, and serve to tell our story for generations to follow.”

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