Sunday, January 24, 2010

CA, Oakland: Congratulations, Estria and Refa1

Community Muralists Estria and Refa1 Unveil Cultural Landmark
Funded by the Oakland Redevelopment Agency

On Saturday, January 23, 2010 muralists, and spray can artists, Estria, and Refa, will inaugurate the completion of two new murals funded by the Oakland Redevelopment Agency (ORA), at a private ceremony, located on the Thai Kee Co building, at 2121 East 12th Street, Oakland, CA 94606, from 11:00am – 1:00pm.  The murals entitled “Four Guardians”, and "Done by the Forces of Nature", were developed to raise community pride while beautifying the neighborhood and reducing vandalism.  The Thai Kee Company, Union Pacific Railroad, and the East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC) have all worked with the artists to bring this project to fruition.

"These vibrant murals, highly visible from Interstate 880, will create a positive impression of Oakland for both visitors and residents." - Daniel Seamans (ORA)

The mural project is evidence that spray can artists and city officials in the Bay Area are now working together, in an effort to reduce vandalism, and showcase the potential of urban art as a tool to empower youth and uplift communities.  Refa's mural "Done by the Forces of Nature", is meant to inspire peace, and designed to bring balance to an already chaotic society. Refa's design uses elements from nature, and Hip Hop, to reflect harmony in Oakland neighborhoods.  Estria's "Four Guardians" mural may be Oakland's largest, city commissioned work, at 22' H x 125' L, and can both can be seen from the 880 freeway.  Local artists and neighborhood youth worked on the mural over the span of two months.  The "Four Guardians" mural was inspired by creatures from Chinese mythology, and incorporates elements from contemporary Hip Hop art, with the intention of connecting youth with the myths, culture, and traditions of past generations.  A third aerosol art mural at the end of the building was produced by students and community members through the Leadership Excellence Organization

The mural inauguration will begin at 11:30am at the EBAYC building on 2025 East 12th St., in Oakland, CA,  with speech's from Estria, and Refa, as well as members of the company's and organizations involved in the project.  Estria and Refa will be available for interviews until 1:00pm.

About ORA: The Oakland Redevelopment Agency (ORA) is part of the City of Oakland’s Community and Economic Development Agency. The Oakland Redevelopment Agency works to bring economic growth to redevelopment areas and improve neighborhood environments for local residents through infrastructure projects, matching grants for area businesses, improved public facilities, programs to increase public safety and other efforts to attract commercial businesses and employers.

About Estria: Estria has been spray painting for over 26 years, and is recognized around the world as a graffiti living legend, valued historian, and leader on graffiti’s social and political impact.  Hailing from San Francisco's "Golden Age" of graffiti in the 80's, Estria is a pioneer in painting techniques, and the originator of the stencil tip.  Through graffiti Estria has become an educator, entrepreneur, and social activist, working with numerous non-profits, and high profile corporations.  In 2007, Estria founded the "Estria Invitational Graffiti Battle", a nationwide urban art competition that honors and advances creativity in the Hip Hop arts.  Originally from Hawaii, Estria has called the Bay Area home for half of his life.  His murals are known to be whimsical, cultural, political, and vibrant, with a focus and dedication to uplift the communities they serve. for more info visit

About Refa: For over two decades, Oakland, California Native, Senay Alkebu-lan, has been instrumentally involved in the development of the innovative, unorthodox genre of art known as “Aerosol Art” (Graffiti Art/Writing). Surrounded by Hip Hop culture as a youth, the walls of urban structures were Senay’s canvas. His refined, self-styled calligraphy has earned him international acclaim amongst Spray Can artists and enthusiasts. Senay’s lifetime of involvement in the Hip Hop community combined with his progressive political consciousness have translated into a successful career as a spray can artist, activist, and educator.

About EBAYC: The East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC) is a non-profit community organization located in the San Antonio District of East Oakland.  For the last 35 years, EBAYC has served multi-cultural, multi-racial young people and their families, providing comprehensive support services including afterschool programs, counseling, advocacy, parent organizing, youth internships, and digital arts training.  For more information, contact: Peter Kim, Managing Director, (510) 533-1092 ext 33,