BEST MURAL - 2000
Olson Memorial Highway at I-94
Highway overpasses are among the least glamorous spaces in urban environments. So what a pleasure it is to drive along Olson Memorial Highway heading west over the eight lanes of I-94 and discover stately African masks lined up along the sound wall, gazing toward the Minneapolis skyline with the quiet ceremony of ancient elders. Created by John Biggers, an internationally recognized artist whose works include the stunning "Jubilee: Ghana Harvest Festival" (the fruit of his first UNESCO-sponsored trip to Africa over 40 years ago), the work also bears the contributions of two local art heroes, Ta-coumba Aiken and Seitu Jones. Created in 1997, the mural makes a stunning impression through its very simplicity: The long faces--well over ten feet tall--register with brilliant colors and authentic detail, reflecting the diversity of the locale while reminding passersby of worlds beyond the 10,000 lakes.