Diplomats have always been tasked with knocking down walls that keep countries from collaborating, but members of Atlanta’s consular corps last month took a different tack: painting one.
Nine consulates partnered with the Atlanta Mayor’s offices of international affairs and cultural affairs to unveil a “Thank You” mural by local artist Joseph McKinney, known as Joseph the Dreamer, who runs Atlanta-based Black Mind Creative.
The colorful tribute was designed to express appreciation for health care workers who have risked their own safety to bring care to those infected with COVID-19, as well as so-called “essential” workers who have kept life and society moving at a time when so much has been halted.
The diplomats came out to show the struggle against the global pandemic is shared across borders, according to Vanessa Ibarra, director of the Mayor’s Office of International Affairs.
“We are excited to have been able to partner — nine consulates representing the intentional community with the city of Atlanta, in order to express our solidarity and support with the people of Atlanta and to express our appreciation to those on the front line battling this pandemic, because we are all in this together,” said Anat Sultan-Dadon, consul general of Israel to the Southeast.
She was among the diplomats who came out to paint a few finishing touches on the mural, which was revealed during a virtual version of ELEVATE, an annual Atlanta public art festival which generally draws many international performers and visual artists to the city, particularly from Atlanta’s sister city of Toulouse, France. This year’s was held (thematically, at least) in the West End Oct. 4-10 and centered around racial equity.
The brightly colored mural contains the words “Thank You” in large print, overlaid on a white-coated doctor, a masked nurse and what looks to be a firefighter with hat in hand. The flags of the nine participating countries — Bahamas, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Haiti, Israel, Japan, Korea and Switzerland — are emblazoned in a a horizontal line across the top.
It’s located at 850 Oak Street SW.