In an effort to bring color back to the world, PANJA has brought its first medicine mural in the City of Newburgh to life.
“This piece celebrates the diverse cultural fabric of Newburgh and is a seated prayer for joy and justice in our global community,” said Anusha Mehar, founder of PANJA.
The mural is located on the corner of Liberty St. and Benkard Ave. Nelson Cekis worked on the mural with the support of his daughter, Maya.
The mural was also made possible by the Orange County Arts Council, which provided PANJA with a grant. Nancy Colas of Simple Gifts and Goodies provided the wall of her business for the mural. Several other community partners also offered their support to the mural.
Mehar hopes to bring more medicine murals to the city. The murals are “really designed to activate spaces with life and color that celebrate the cultural diversity that is the fabric of the neighborhoods in the City of Newburgh,” said Mehar. She said that PANJA will also bring different wellness endeavors that may be inaccessible to some in the community.
The mural was inaugurated this past Sunday. Cekis finished the mural at the inaugaration. The mural was inaugurated with yoga, poetry, music, food, and a community speak out.
Mehar said that PANJA plans to continue doing acts of work like yoga, so that “we can bring these practices to people to meet them where they’re at and let them know they’re invited in.”
“Joy and rest and self care are acts of radical resistance that we need in this time of really dismantling systematic oppression,” said Mehar.
“Now is the time,” said Mehar over participation in a movement to dismantle oppression. “We must stand up in our power unapologetically as ourselves and allow our spirit to shine, allow our passions to serve our purpose.”
Mehar emphasized the importance of inclusivity and not demanding BIPOC to step aside for others.
“Overall activating spaces that are cotillion, kind of grey, overlooked, allows people to engage in kind of unanticipated gorilla acts of joy,” said Mehar.
Mehar said that our physical environments often have an impact on the internal spaces in our bodies.
“The more space we give ourselves, the more light we give ourselves, the more are we able to expand it,” said Mehar.
Mehar hopes to invite others who have walls or public spaces that they’d like to activate to get in touch with her. She said she is happy to help fundraise to activate the spaces.
“The streets have always been a place of resistance, have always been a place of organizing and activating since forever,” said Mehar.