Israeli artists Maya Gelfman and Roie Avidan

Artists travel the world and install mural at GHC

Israeli artists Maya Gelfman and Roie Avidan have left their mark at the Georgia Highlands College (GHC) Cartersville site by installing their latest Mind the Heart!mural titled “The Wishing Wall.” 

Located on the first floor of the STEAM Building and stepping outside traditional approaches to murals, “The Wishing Wall” ties to the culture of GHC – literally utilizing yarn to craft images of birds delivering individual messages of hope from students and faculty. The project was facilitated by the School of Humanities.

Maya and Roie provided the following explanation of “The Wishing Wall”: 

“The flock of birds rises as one, encompassing a duality: a tension between the pulling force of the ground and the endless promise of the open sky. Our history, our roots, our triumphs and our losses, can all be sources of great strength or chains that hold us back. But the birds and their ‘chains’ are made of the same, soft material. That which can unravel them, also grants them wings. If they choose to fly high enough for long enough, they will unravel the tangle and get all the thread they need. 

If they so choose, they’ll be free.” 

Image of bird from mural

The mural also deals with hopes and fears and how these can be shared to find connection and transcendence. In this, the power of intention and of the written word shines brightest – both personally and communally. 

The project incorporated GHC students and faculty by asking them to answer this question: Of all of your skills, gifts and superpowers, what’s the one you’d want to shine through this coming year, so that others may benefit from it? 

Their anonymous wishes were written on small scrolls and placed for the birds to carry them upwards, to fulfillment. 

Mind the Heart! is a worldwide public art project by artists Maya Gelfman and Roie Avidan, that promotes mindfulness through site-specific murals, installations and public actions. Their works have reached over 100 cities across five continents. The artists share their art not only in galleries and museums but move beyond, into the streets, creating tangible works that connect to tangible moments.  

Looking for ways to facilitate a direct connection to a place, time and experience, led them to take the project on the road and create the Serendipity Experiment, a “365-day a year, 24-hour, seven-day-a-week performance all across the U.S.  

Their premise was to accept the unknown as an artistic tool, by committing to being only in the present moment. That meant giving up the anchors of the past and relinquishing control over the future.  

For this purpose, they donated their belongings, moved to live in a van and asked strangers to dictate their journey. At each point they were sent to, they created a public work.  

The experiment was planned to last one year but ended up lasting four, spanning more than 60,000 miles in 48 states. 

“Our works are site-specific, they reflect an experience in a certain time and the people whom we met at that location. Throughout the journey of Serendipity, we shared many meaningful encounters and conversations. It created a web of places and people that also led us to Georgia Highlands College,” says Roie. 

And Maya continues, “Everyone we have met has been open and receptive, willing to inspire and be inspired by others. Meeting people from all walks of life has broadened our perspectives, we are grateful for so many acts of kindness and generosity.” 

While “The Wishing Wall” mural is physically complete, students and visitors will still have the opportunity to engage with the piece by scanning a QR code at the mural’s location and providing a new wish digitally. All wishes will be featured anonymously, on a screen next to the mural. 

See more of Maya and Roie’s work on their websitemindtheheart.orgor on Instagram at @mindtheheartproject.  

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Israeli artists Maya Gelfman and Roie Avidan