Piece in Columbia Museum of Art to cover garden wall of Transitions Center
Khaldoune Bencheikh created the piece for his master's in fine arts thesis.
"The goal was really to raise awareness about homelessness through arts by creating something beautiful that would bring attention to the center," he said.
Bencheikh said the piece was created out of "knickknacks" and stained glass tile. Interspersed among the green and blue tiles were ceramics and other objects donated by the community.
"It's all about learning how to let go," Bencheikh said. "Homeless people are forced to let things go. It's not a choice; they have to leave, they have no home and this is an act of compassion, to really learn, to really give something and let it go, and often it is an emotion."
The work also contained images of three birds — a crow, a swan and a peacock — that symbolize different stages of alchemical transformation.
Bencheikh said the work took two years to plan and one year to create and that next phase of the project would take another year. When all three phases are finished, the entire mural will be 650 square feet. Bencheikh says he plans to undertake similar projects in other communities.