Mata Ruda (New Jersey, USA)

‘The Speed of Dreams (Gateways to Newark)”

Assisted by Lucinda Yrene, Ruth Jampol, and Malik Whitaker

The Speed of Dreams is a dream sequence of 5 people that are representations of contemporary communities living in the city of Newark. The figures portraits are of the Latino (Caribbean, Ecuadorian and Brazilian), African, and African-American communities in Newark. Each of these groups has their origin stories of how they came about to make up what we know as Newark today. Often these communities are trivialized, overlooked, and under-celebrated when it comes to being represented in large-scale public art. The mural has each person dreaming of flora and fauna from their ancestral homelands within the context of one Newark’s busiest transportation throughways. This wall was loosely based on a quote by Richard Wright:
“I was leaving the South
to fling myself into the unknown . . .
I was taking a part of the South
to transplant in alien soil,
to see if it could grow differently,
if it could drink of new and cool rains,
bend in strange winds,
respond to the warmth of other suns
and, perhaps, to bloom.”


The artist: MataRuda

MATARUDA is an artist, activist, and archivist who currently lives in Newark, NJ. He was born in San Jose, Costa Rica and lived in Caracas, Venezuela until he was 11 when he immigrated to the USA. Using iconography from both regions, he has painted a variety of murals and paintings that empower overlooked communities and cultures. His work has been part of the Newark Museum, El Museo Barrio, The Painted Desert Project, and Calle 13’s Multi_Viral. By acknowledging the violence that occurs around the United States/Mexico border, and celebrating the resiliency of those who attempt to cross it, his artwork monumentalizes facets of the immigrant experience.
MataRuda currently has one mural in the City of Newark. The mural was created with the Model Neighborhood Initiative, and can be found on Springfield Avenue.