W.O.N. Mural Society. Image 3/20

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Flyventures by Marcus Akinlana 2003 Murals: 40ft x 17ft (sloping 4ft in ceiling), Sculptures: 9ft x 5ft x 3.5ft and 6.5ft x 3.5ft x 3.5ft, medium acrylic paint on panels with cantilevered freestanding sculptures. Location: Philadelphia International Airport, an original Work developed in cooperation Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development, the City and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.


FLYVENTURES is a journey into the joys and adventures of flight. When I conceived this project I wanted to make a visual historical statement of the near misses and successes of humanity to master the sky. The images depicted give hints to the viewer of the great bravery, vision, determination and technological genius that humanity has shown in it's efforts to master aviation. From mythical ancient times to the present, different peoples and cultures spanning across the globe, have been involved in flight development. Fearless female aviators and their male counterparts have undertaken incredible feats to tame the sky. The sheer scale of the murals and the sculptures that also spans into the ceiling within this space are also reflective of the theme of the artwork; the limitless boundaries of the sky are equally matched with humankind's quest to conquer it. I chose to paint and sculpt big dynamic symbols to extend this concept of expansiveness and enormity.

Included amongst the murals imagery are helicopters paying tribute to the industry and inventiveness of Igor Sikorsky, ("the father of the helicopter"), who worked in the Philadelphia area, female flyers and barnstormers paying homage to adventurous aviators such as Amelia Earhart and Bessie Coleman.

Starting at the ground floor west-end escalator wall of the international ticketing lobby, the journey into ancient aviation history is told. A Chinese elder flying a kite is the first larger than life-size sculpture suspending out of the mural, this three-dimensional image is portraying one of the earliest forms of flight technology. On the opposite southeast end escalator wall, the second life-size sculpture is of a female astronaut holding a cable to an "Apollo 13" styled space shuttle.

I have always enjoyed working in multi-media in my public art works and this project gave me the opportunity to combine murals and three-dimensional sculptures in a very large scale. It is my biggest project to date, with two 40 ft murals and 2 larger than life-size cantilevered sculptures. It was technically challenging but big fun working to get the different aspects of the pieces to work together.