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An Enlightening Saturday at the Sunny Dayz Mural Festival

9:19 AM EDT on August 9, 2021

Although most artwork is segregated with much of the kudos going to—of course—white men, I have come to realize that the most beautiful, talented and thought-provoking art comes from people that have experienced oppression and injustice, with many places in Oklahoma finally showing, rightfully, those pieces of work to the public.

It’s the same, possibly worse, in the underground art scene, with minorities having to fight to make their voices heard and their art seen over said white men. A step into the future was taken this past Saturday, however, at the inaugural Sunny Dayz Mural Art Festival, 925 W. Britton Rd., as women of all races, creeds and colors put their art on display for all to see and all to admire.

Despite walking past a few stereotypical hipster dudes making jokes about the artwork or worse—privately, of course, saving their scoffing for their male friends, I guess—for the unprecedented female artists, many of them continued to happily paint murals as the event was happening, paying no mind to the untalented, doing their own thing, proudly and effortlessly.

As I sauntered around, soundly and silently, I thoroughly enjoyed looking at the art and watching it created, mostly because it said something—I didn’t feel like I was being sold a product or place, like many of the city’s murals, often sponsored and paid for by an oil company or some other corporate behemoth, is. This all seemed pure, the one thing that true art should be and, around here, usually isn’t.

Women created, expertly crafted each work of art, some on canvas, some on walls, and, most impressively, some on the side of a dumpster; these women were making sure that every place that could be covered in art, was covered in art.

I took a break about halfway through to look at the food-trucks posited out of the way, two of which I had seen before. But, the one that completely surprised me was a small stand with a dry-erase board that read Shaq’s Vegan Hot Dogs. While I was wanting to try one, but the line was moderately long and I figured I’d come back around, though I never did.

The rows of tents, filled with artists and so on selling their wares, as well as groups promoting their various causes, was also interesting, I thought; it felt good to be at a festival with no one selling Trump 2024 flags and other hate-monger wares for fun and profit. They’re always the worst thing about festivals in Oklahoma.

Having explored nearly every inch of the festival, as I started to leave, I turned around and noticed a beautiful painting of an Indigenous woman on the wall and my heart just rose. It was highly inspirational, as I was glad that my people were not only duly represented, but sheer proof that it’s women that will carry the message of Native rights—our message—into the future.


Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler and Instagram at @louisfowler78.

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