Local artist creates mosaic tapestry to help heal 2020 heartbreak



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As the daughter of legendary local artists Ellen Powell Tiberino and Joseph Tiberino, and one of the custodians of the family Tiberino Museum, now 21, in the village of Powelton in West Philadelphia, sculptor, mosaicist and artist from Ellen Tiberino’s stained glass window, life and work bear the weight of responsibility and the truisms of tradition.

Yet, as evidenced by her most recent exhibitions and a brand new collaboration with Mural Arts Philadelphia, the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services and their Color Me Back project, Tiberino is thriving on her own.

On Thursday October 7th, at 1pm, under 15th and Market streets at the suburban train station, Tiberino will launch the brand, the new “Opposing Forces” mural created with his mosaic colleague Alvin Tull. “Lovely Day” also debuts that same morning – a 200-column painting project in the SEPTA Lobby along the Broad Street subway line, between City Hall and Walnut Street, with a vividly colored vision designed by the Philadelphia artist Lauren Cat West and painted by program participants.

“I received the order through Mural Arts, their Porch Light program and their Color Me Back project funded in part by the City of Philadelphia,” explains Tiberino who, in addition to being a teaching artist through Jane Golden’s Mural Arts Philadelphia , explained that this new project pays its participants for learning and helping with artistic projects, as well as for collaboration in in-depth workshops.

“Thanks to these workshops which lasted until February and March (2021), I was able to build relationships with the participants and find ideas and inspiration for the mural. And the idea that Alvin and I had together – after a year of turmoil and distress over racial unrest and COVID – was to create a beautiful oasis of art, nature and tranquility in the midst of this structure of concrete and steel subway, so that people can watch it and be momentarily provided to escape their problems and trauma. Here the opposing forces of darkness and light come together in harmony.

There are images in “Opposing Forces” of a sunset and a rising moon as a reminder of the dawn of each day and the meaning of renewal. Nature has always been a great influence on all of Tiberino’s work, so the view of “opposing forces” fits wonderfully with his own mosaic work of art.

“Me and Al Tull have very different styles. His design for this painting was very abstract, bright and geometric, while mine was more figurative and fluid. We came to a good compromise of mixing the two styles, or “opposing forces” as we decided to call it. “

The colorful, yet subtle part of Tiberino’s “Opposing Forces” stained glass window is resplendent with iridescent and specialized glass, cut and ground by hand before creating the mosaic. A vision like this is individual, yes, but with Tull, Tiberino quickly attributes its completion and installation to a team including Gail Scuderi, Maddy Scuderi and Belo and Emily Crane who run the ‘Color Me Back’ project site at Suburban. . Station, a program in conjunction with the Porch Light Program that aims to achieve the universal health and well-being of Philadelphians, especially those with mental health issues or trauma.

“I am very happy with the collaboration and our end result,” says Tiberino.

Beyond the beneficence of his healing public works of art, several of Tiberino’s own mosaics and sculptures will soon be on display as part of the reboot of ’90s comedy, “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” by Will Smith, native of Overbrook and producer. This dramatic new tale of a young savage from West Philly moving to an opulent part of Los Angeles for a better way of life is currently being filmed for the Peacock NBC streaming network with Jabari. Banks, a native of Philly and a recent graduate of the University of the Arts in the lead role of Will.

Several weeks ago, a Peacock production crew filmed location shoots for the “Fresh Prince” update and contacted Tiberino about the use of two of his parts, “I’m A Little Broken” and “Am I Blue” in the Smith product. drama.

“I was contacted a few months ago by a set designer working on Peacock’s new NBC show, a dramatic re-imagining of the ’90s sitcom,” says Tiberino. “They contracted two of my works for the first season to display in the background. I am very happy to be a part of a major network TV show that has its roots in my hometown of Philadelphia.


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