By Jeff Henriquez, artist behind “In History We Trust”
The mural “In History We Trust” is a piece created for the 100th year anniversary of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote in America. The reason I gave it this title is because even though women were technically allowed to vote, the first votes cast by women of color weren’t actually registered until the early 1960s, or so it is said.
Without imagery of political context, I decided to somewhat transcend the images of women in our culture.
The city lights in the center symbolize modern time relevance where the issues of social injustice and inequality for women and people of color still exist.
On the left, we have a Black woman with a full Afro. In the 1960s when American political unrest was at its height, many Blacks were still called “negro”, among other terms. As a response, the Black community began wearing the Afro style as a direct statement to their connection to Africa, which was also seen as an act of rebellion against the oppressive American system. And I love a good rebellion!!
So, Black woman, dressed in black, in full rebellion, even has a subtle BLM branding on the neck trim of her shirt closest to the lights in the center. Lastly, she wears a pendant with the image of the great savior and facilitator of the Underground Railroad, Harriet Tubman, another acknowledgment of her history and wisdom of a great elder.
In contrast to the night time stars in the sky, the right shoulder shows a sunrise, a symbol of the future. The stained glass windows are those from a house in Janesville where people escaping slavery were brought using the Underground Railroad. The glass had designations for each color which was used to give messages to travelers.
All photos taken by Full Spectrum Photography.
>> Schedule a visit to the Milton House Museum, the only certified Underground Railroad site in Wisconsin that is open to visitors
Jeff is a full time artist known for combining photo realism with elements of graffiti and street art culture. He received his BA in art in 1999 from Bradford College in Bradford, MA. Since 2000, Jeff has been further developing and mastering his painting techniques, while delving into a wide range of mediums including ceramics, silk screening, tattooing, aerosol, & oils.
Jeff got his start in the gallery scene with huge monochrome portraits of the homeless and displaced. The emotion and pain captured in the faces of his subjects created strikingly dramatic and profound works that hold one’s attention even from a distance. Successful showings in D.C. at The Museum of Contemporary Art and La Casa de la Cultura in Boston led to shows in Atlanta, GA, Saint Petersburg & Miami, FL and New York City. To date, Jeff has collectors from Canada, France and Russia.