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50th AJE Gold Winner Lance Hunter's Mural

Lindsay Ainsworth  | Published on 9/20/2020

Below the Surface was commissioned by an anonymous foundation. The foundation's targets for the project were the celebration of women, the importance of education and the beautification of the city. The mural is located at 401 N. Muskogee Avenue in Tahlequah, Oklahoma
two blocks south of Northeastern State University. Reaching for Peace, a mural that Hunter designed and was painted by an NSU class under his direction in 2004 is located across the street from the new mural. Below the Surface was completed over a period of seven weeks with the help of a few assistants.

At a fundamental level, the mural design seeks to inspire with beauty while layered with visual elements that invite contemplation. Water is an ancient symbol for life and it is considered one of the two feminine elements. Water is essential for human existence, closely associated with creation and it can be a source of great power or destruction. In many cultures, an umbrella represents shelter against obstacles and suffering. Based on its enduring design, an umbrella also represents a form of protection largely unaffected by technology.

The book suggests the role that education and knowledge should play in making informed decisions as an individual and in a democracy. In recent decades, the origami crane has evolved into a multi-cultural symbol for hope and peace that originated with a child. The model for the origami crane was created by the artist's son and his son also helped with the painting of this mural. The Susan B. Anthony coin was minted to commemorate a leader in this country during the political struggle for a woman’s right to vote and an end to slavery.

The model for the watercolor, Without Reason, was Hunter's primary assistant on Below the Surface.