For the past four years, Brandan “BMike” Odums has been transforming blighted spaces in New Orleans’ poor neighborhoods through powerful art.
Odums spray-paints larger-than-life murals of African-American icons like Malcolm X, Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King Jr. at abandoned sites, some of which have been falling apart since Hurricane Katrina.
The New Orleans native aims to criticize how the city neglected under-resourced neighborhoods after the 2005 natural disaster ― but also wants to celebrate the residents of these mostly-black neighborhoods and the pride and beauty of their communities.
“Think about the spaces, they were in black, poor communities,” Odums told HuffPost. “[The art is] just to feel like you matter and you have value, so people can see themselves reflected in this portrait of Mohammed Ali or Maya Angelou.”
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY & CULTURE | WASHINGTON, DC
The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. To date, the Museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts and nearly 100,000 individuals have become charter members. The Museum opened to the public on September 24, 2016, as the 19th and newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution. (Website).