Being human means awakening to who you are meant to be – in other words, self-actualization can propel an artist into the most inspiring version of who they can be. Visual mediums have the potential to be a catalyst for this mysterious alchemical process of personal and societal liberation. Above all, art moves people. It transforms lives by providing life-affirming, purposeful and often deeply reflective experiences. If an artistic piece is imbued with knowledge and meaning, it awakens an unconscious desire for collective societal change. Okuda San Miguel is one of these artistic alchemists – he takes what the average person would deem to be mundane and transmutes it into an extraordinary artistic vision. His brilliant 23 story mural located at the heart of downtown Toronto is called “Equilibrium Mural”.
The Equilibrium Mural is a 23-story mural which is commissioned by the Steps Initiative and the Parkside Student Residence in Toronto, Ontario. In 2018, it was beautifully illustrated on a Parkside student residence at Carlton St and Jarvis St. To this date, “Equilibrium Mural” is his tallest diversified painting. Graffiti Art Magazine has official stated that Miguel is one of the most acclaimed contemporary artists. A Spanish painter and sculptor, Okuda San Miguel is known for his extraordinary geometric iconography of animals, symbols, humanity, and the natural world. His colourful street art and paintings can be found around the globe, in countries such as Spain, Chile, South Africa, The United States, Japan and Canada. He blazes a path for all artists to tread, so they too can empower and facilitate change.
His emancipatory painting is a fundamental expression of the human experience in co-existence with the Universe at large. “Equilibrium Mural” is also a reflection of the United Nations SDG’s – a roadmap which encompass goals for a more just, sustainable and connected world. “Equilibrium Mural” awe-inspiringly executes many of the SDG Goals that people around the world are familiar with today:
⭐ SDG #11 – Sustainable Cities
⭐ SDG #15 - Life on Land
⭐ SDG #9 - Industry Innovation and Infrastructure
⭐ SDG #10 - Reduced Inequalities
⭐ SDG #16 - Peace Justice and Strong Institutions
In his unique way, he exemplifies and provokes each viewer to become aware of their own embodied knowledge and understanding – the realization that we all each carry unique personal knowledge from prior experiences and realizations. In her essay “Engaged Pedagogy”, Bell Hooks states that any journey or self-inquiry into knowledge requires a “union of mind, body and Soul”. The chromatic “Equilibrium Mural” also engages social responsibility. Miguel evokes a sense of personal, sustainable, and ecological responsibility to each passerby who views and reflects upon his mural. Its populous prime location in Toronto allows for its message of diversity, peace and ecological interconnectedness to impact countless citizens and spectators. At its quintessence, Miguel’s creativity illuminates a path for all to live a rich, deep and empathic life. “Equilibrium Mural” embodies this interconnectedness on a personal, communal, and global sphere.
Miguel’s artistic work explores realms of pop surrealism, abstract conceptualization and, fundamentally, existentialism. Viewers are enamored with the way his visuals come to life in a fourth dimensional way and pull each person into a non-linear psychedelic universe just waiting to be explored. This piece unifies and acknowledges diversity, environmental awareness, and knowledge. According to Miguel, “The gay flag is like my palette because all the colours together symbolize, for me, the multicultures, multigender, everything”. When asked about the embedded meaning of the mural, he answers “It is my largest mural to date, which on a personal level is a very interesting and beautiful challenge. As for its content, I don’t want to reveal much, but I can say that it will be a kind of totem that will bring together several of my icons in a sort of family tree in which the universe, the Earth, humans and the natural world are intertwined.”
“Equilibrium Mural” inspires philosophical introspection into the universal biophilic interconnection between humanity, the natural world, and the archetypal life cycles we all share. Biophilia is humanities’ innate empathic interconnection with all sentient life on earth, it is “the very essence of our humanity and binds us to all other living species”. Through his art, and his everyday life, Okuda San Miguel empathically resonates artistic freedom, courage, and passion. His innovations awaken humanity to their own meaningful cognizance both within themselves, and with all of creation. Miguel rekindles in us the realization that all of life is sacred.