Artist: Kyle Ragsdale
Date created: 2019
Safe Passage is the expression of a metaphor for the world: a collection of random figures, some human and some animal, on an epic journey in an unknown direction with only each other to rely on. The yellow-toned and sparkling paint in the sky indicates that the scene is taking place in some mythical landscape, much as the shimmering gold tile backgrounds of Byzantine church mosaics were understood to indicate the heavenly realm. The figures include historical people George Washington and George Washington Carver (visual puns relating to the mural’s location on East Washington Street), a nun, a giraffe, a polar bear, a crowned cat, bunnies, and a child in a red hat–some of which recur in the artist’s other mural and easel work–and indicate the varied nature of the life that is bound together on our planet. The scene wraps around the corner of the building to enliven its front facade.
The artist, Kyle Ragsdale, is a native of New Mexico but has lived in Indianapolis since 1992. In addition to being a popular mural artist and frequent exhibitor both locally and regionally, he is the curator of the galleries at the Harrison Center where his studio is located. Ragsdale has won numerous local awards, including a Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis and a Stutz studio residency. He says: “My work is a collection of symbols. Figures, birds, flowers, and foliage function like text to trigger response and connections. In these paintings I invite viewers to make their own interpretations and connections with the visual clues in the images. Like moments in time, memories and dreams, the figures and images serve as starters for dialogue with the viewer.”
Safe Passage was created through a partnership between Jiffy Lube of Indiana and the Arts Council of Indianapolis. The partnership is an opportunity to showcase local artists, beautify commercial corridors with original public art murals, and encourage viewers through positive images while expressing the goals of Jiffy Lube’s programming: Growing People Through Work.