The stories of 10 immigrants and refugees from Latin America were unveiled Monday at Minneapolis City Hall.
But instead of words, their journeys and experiences have been transformed into a mural called "El Camino del Corazón (The Journey of the Heart). It is on the third floor of City Hall outside the City Council chambers.
To the right of the panel, two figures fly with monarch wings, one representing the worker and one the dreamer, always moving with dignity. In the middle, a spiral clock represents the idea that, for immigrants, the day never ends.
Barbed wire runs throughout the mural — because "in the midst of wings and flying, you're still trapped," said lead artist Greta McLain of Minneapolis.
McLain and Candida Gonzalez are co-owners of GoodSpace Murals, which worked with ReCAST Minneapolis (Resilience in Communities after Stress and Trauma) and CLUES (Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio) to bring the mural to fruition.
After being awarded a grant, a group of 10 immigrants from Guatemala, Ecuador, Mexico and Colombia met seven times over seven weeks to build relationships, share stories and transform those stories into images, McLain said.
The painting took about 45 days; city employees helped out for the last four sessions.
A brochure available at the mural site tells the story of each of the images.
None of the immigrant participants were there for the mural's unveiling Monday, McLain said. Some are in the U.S. legally, some are not. They have chosen to remain anonymous to stay safe.
"They need to be seen and need to be heard, but this isn't a safe place for them to be," McLain said.