We Are At a Moment That Will Be Remembered… is a monumentally scaled mural in the Lena Horne Bandshell in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, presented by BRIC and Prospect Park Alliance in partnership with NYC Parks. A portal into an alternate future, the mural appears as if emerging from the inner rings of the Bandshell amidst a swirling, hand painted cosmos. Within it, every being — humans, insects, and goddesses alike — vibrates with color and detail, as they witness or join in the joyful dismantling of a brick wall. The work is inspired by the scale and narrative qualities of WPA mural projects and by Mexican muralism, especially José Clemente Orozco’s Prometheus, depicting the mythological figure who stole fire from the gods and gave it to humanity.
In a nod to Orozco’s Prometheus, humans light their torches with flames cupped in the hands of laughing goddesses. Flanking the portal, two guardian figures cradle armfuls of fire that emit beams of light, illuminating the landscape and the figures in a color-shifting arch. Oliveira’s allegorical composition responds to the challenges of our current times with a vision of renewal, joy, and collective care. Alluding to this renewal, high above the action, a purple figure inside a comet streaks across the sky. This figure, a protagonist of Oliveira’s science-fiction creation story, reflects the perpetual recurrence and simultaneity of past, present, and future narratives.
The mural recognizes the forms of collective action that have taken place over the past year, against violence, hate, and separation through walls. Oliveira envisions rebirth through such forms of collective action as joy and care—celebrating acts that often take place in public natural settings, like Prospect Park; a site for imagining and enacting utopia. In this landscape, leisure and care are not seen as idle tasks but upheld as the driving force of radical change. Before the wall, figures engage equally in direct action and acts of mutual pleasure, touch, and care. In the distance, utopian queers lounge, swim, rest, and organize. These figures exist simultaneously with the liberation in the foreground; in Oliveira’s conception of utopia, leisure and frivolity can and must coexist with direct action: milk and honey with fire and brimstone. On the horizon of the image, a volcano erupts from a vast, subterranean fire, and a burning tower and a crumbling wall signal the fall of powerful, but not indestructible hierarchies and systems of domination.