6308 N Guilford Ave, Indianapolis, IN, 46220
This mural honors Mpozi Mshale Tolbert, a highly visible Indianapolis photojournalist, DJ and creative entrepreneur who, in 2006, suddenly collapsed and died at age 34.
Tolbert was born in Philadelphia and sold his first photograph to the Philadelphia Daily News at age 16. As a young man, he freelanced in Philadelphia, covering everything from breaking news to Philly’s vibrant music scene. He even documented the rise of hip-hop super group The Roots, and lent both his keen eye and voice to their record Do You Want More? After shooting for the Associated Press and Vibe, among others, Mpozi landed a staff job with the Indianapolis Star at 26. Despite his 6’6” frame, subjects said that Mpozi simply disappeared behind the camera. Whether he was covering the wreckage of 9/11, or a quiet moment between a son and his father just back from Iraq, his photos deftly captured life’s pleasure and pain without exploiting it.
In addition to his career as a photojournalist, Tolbert maintained a studio in Fountain Square where he displayed his photographs of Philadelphia and New York. He also was a Sunday night DJ at a Broad Ripple nightclub where he played reggae and Brazilian music.
The mural includes a portrait of Tolbert with angel wings, and its imagery alludes to his professional endeavors.
BRIDGE (Beyond Redefining Individual Dreams & Gaining Exposure) is a group of Indianapolis artists who have been working since 2002 on collaborative, socially-aware projects. Members include visual artists, musicians, literary artists and DJs. The Mpozi Mural was spearheaded by members Matt Lawrence and FAB Crew.
Date created: 2008