This Artist Seeks to "Challenges Whiteness" With A Bold New Mural in Oklahoma City

Artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh took on street harassment with her series of portraits that featured the words "Stop Telling Women to Smile," posted on streets across the country. Now she's tackling whiteness.

Fazlalizadeh erected a piece of public art in Oklahoma City with the words: “America is black. It is Native. It wears a hijab. It is a Spanish speaking tongue. It is migrant. It is a woman. It is here. Has been here. And it’s not going anywhere.”

It is a direct response to the xenophobia, racism, and sexism that have fueled the rise of President-Elect Donald Trump. 

On Instagram the Oklahoma-native outlined her intentions. 

"After the election, I immediately knew I wanted to make some public art during my trip to Oklahoma in a few weeks for Thanksgiving," she said. "I wanted to make something in a very Republican state that was a challenge to whiteness."
She told Huffington Post, "The site of this piece is just as important to its intent. This work is declaring that people who are non-white and male are a part of this country, are integral to this country, and are not going anywhere.”

She assembled the drawings to represent a diverse America. 

Now is the time for concerned citizens to make bold statements. Toni Morrison wrote for The Nation, "In times of dread, artists must never choose to remain silent." It is so good to see Tatyana Fazlalizadeh doing just that. 

Images courtesy of Tatyana Fazlalizadeh