Project Information
Google Map of Albany, NY


11-11 Hazen Street East Elmhurst, NY 11370




8 x 11 ft



Groundswell worked in collaboration with Rikers Saturday Academy to create a mural inspired by the Nelson Mandela quote: “For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” Groundswell worked with a small group of youth participants in eight sessions to plan, design, and execute the mural.



Nelson Mandela lights his fist in a sign of overcoming huge odds and racism to realize personal potential. He has a shining heart over his chest to illustrate strength, perseverance, and love. The light from the heart leads to a boy in profile. He looks out to both overcome challenges and face his potential to succeed. Rays of light color his skin multiple tones, representing all races. He is surrounded by compasses from antique maps, which symbolize the multitude of choices in life. A bridge entitled “Education” bisects the mural, showing how schooling can lead to the achievement of aspirations. To the right, Nelson Mandaela’s quote is included on a swirling coil.