Photo and mural by Hayden Senter.

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ayden Senter’s untitled surrealist mural brings us a lone house in a clearing against a backdrop of a pink-patterned sky. Surrounding the clearing is a jungle of beautifully lush foliage. In art, houses often symbolize comfort and stability, and while the bright light from within and the open door of this house seems inviting, a tangle of roots exploding out the side wall tells another story. The artist shares:

I was focused on a few ideas. It seemed important to reflect some of the surrounding neighborhood within the painting but also touch on ideas of permanence and the inherent ephemerality that go along with it. I tried to keep the palette saturated and bright to create an entry point for passersby. Hopefully, this way, people interested in the mural will come to their own conclusions about its meaning by navigating the image itself.

Ultimately, the work is an invitation to consider the rapid and dramatic transformation of Portland neighborhoods and social fabric. “Creating a reflection of these changes, the mural acts as a catalyst for new thought on what’s happening,” according to the Regional Arts & Culture Council, which funded the work along with private funds. “With growth comes change, both positive and negative, as well as a separation from what used to be.” Created in 2018, the mural of acrylic on concrete spans 15 by 50 feet.

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