Initially just one mural project, the Grove Street Neighbourhood event quickly gained the support of neighbourhood and developed into a full scale community project with the unveiling of ten murals in total, being Miami-based artist Ruben Ubeira is one of them.

The opportunity to have Ruben as part of the team became a reality when curator Iryna Kanishcheva contacted the PangeaSeed Foundation for a collaboration with Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans in Gainesville, Florida. Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans is a ground-breaking public art project created by PangeaSeed Foundation and supporting artists to help bring the beauty and the plight of the world’s oceans to the streets around the world. Their mission is to generate awareness and stimulate dialogue and inspire positive changes surrounding global ocean environmental issues.

Ruben’s wall depicts a life-size decomposing beached whale. Vultures feed from it while flowers arise from the rotting carcass. A mural about death, greed and rebirth. According to the artist, the piece intends to make the viewer aware of the problems our oceans experiment these days: He describes the idea behind the mural as follows:

“I like to paint murals that are unique to the space they’re in. When I saw the wall, the grass mound, the electrical boxes, its length, I immediately thought of a life-size whale. In the middle of Gainesville, Florida. Away from the ocean. A contrast from your every day.
I wanted to stop people on their tracks while making them aware of a problem that concerns us all: the oceans. Without them, there’s no life. The vultures represent the corporations and politicians feeding their pockets from the sea’s demise. The flowers: hope, growth, and possibility. Metallic colours were used on the sunflowers to add beauty, and reflect light, while the sun hits the wall the whole day.”

For more about the project and the other murals, take a look at my previous post HERE.
All Images by Iryna Kanishcheva.

Ruben Gerardo Ubiera Gonzalez (born October 19, 1975 in Santo Domingo,Dominican Republic) is a neo-figurative artist, known for his strong use of the line, graffiti inspired technique/esthetic, urban murals, mixed-media pieces and installations, all created with reclaimed-objects and found artifacts. He paints and draws in a style considered as Postgraffism, but he prefers to call it urban-pop, since he has lived most of his life in urban, populated areas and most of his inspiration is derived from the inter activity between man and his urban environment. At the age of 15, his family moved to the Bronx, NY, where he was heavily influenced by the graffiti art that surrounded him, something he wouldn’t realize until much later in his life.

The Grove Street Neighbourhood Murals Project is a community project founded and curated by Iryna Kanishcheva and coordinated by the neighbourhood leader Maria Huff Edwards. The project is according to the organisers a total success thanks to the help of volunteers and neighbourhood supporters, who see murals as an artistic tool towards the neighbourhoods further stabilisation, beautification, and restoration.


Author: Fran

Founder and editor of Urbanite. Street Art lover who after the finishing her MA thesis on the muralist movement in the 1920-50s, developed a fascination for street art and graffiti that eventually led to collaborations with different art blogs, including the creation of this one.