26 January 2009

See things differently

There is a wonderful, innate, quality to murals and mosaics. More often than not, they are looked upon in awe for the ability of an artist to take a brush stroke, piece of tile, bead, or whatever medium they are using, and create a breathtaking image or sweeping vista. What is often missed by this fleeting glance are the layers of storytelling that are present. The secondary storylines, vignettes, and gags could all go unnoticed when glimpsed for only a moment.

Murals and mosaics can be found in a variety of places within Walt Disney World, from The Seas to Cinderella Castle, and beyond. Perhaps the most well known mural in all of Walt Disney World can be found surrounding the center column of The Contemporary. Created by Mary Blair, and completed before the 1971 opening, the piece carries with it not only a story told in brightly colored tiles, but also a sense of place and history. This tracking of a bear is, perhaps, my favorite element in the entire mural. It always brings a smile to my face and a slight chuckle to my lips.

Along The Land mosaic are stories of the land’s creation and its place in the history of our shared histories. I don’t know that there is a more poignant scene in any single work of art in all of Walt Disney World that this small scene. To me it depicts the rise and fall of civilizations, whether an earthquake or war, it serves as a reminder that we can always do more and that there are still forces beyond our control.

Remember to stop and take a moment to really see what you are looking at the next time you find a piece of art within Walt Disney World. You never know what secrets and stories in might share with you.


Princess Fee said...

I love, love, love these murals all over the Disney property - I especially love the ones in the Contemporary, as I'm a massive Mary Blair fan.

Great photos - especially the one in the Castle - those are tough to get quiet enough!

J. Jeff Kober said...

There are a couple of details I love most about the Cinderella murals. One is that the two imagineers, John Hench and Herb Ryman are represented as the two individuals sent by the king to try on Cinderella's slipper. The other is in the step sisters, who when you look closely, you will find that one is "red with rage" and the other "green with envy".

J. Jeff Kober