Voices murals of Dubuque: Featuring Christina Angelina

Calasandra Spray (TheLorian)

Hear the voices of Dubuque through the ongoing Voices Mural Project by Voices Production. Local and regional artists have been hard at work since 2016 when Voices Production moved out of the Millwork District and onto the streets of downtown Dubuque.

The goal in beginning this project was to create art that is free for public consumption that will revitalize the city and demonstrate local culture in a way that inspires the masses. Many public and private figures have voiced their concerns over painting historic downtown Dubuque. However, despite controversy and pushback, there are now nearly fifty murals painted on the downtown buildings.

Personally, I think they’re wonderful. You can spot at least one every time you drive through downtown. Each in its own way can spark excitement, creativity, and foster the artist inside every person to help in making Dubuque beautiful. While some murals are easy to spot, others are well hidden in secluded alleyways and parking lots. In this series, I will let you in on the secrets of where to find them and the artists who painted them. 

Kicking the series off is muralist Christina Angelina, otherwise known as Starfighter. Growing up in Venice, Los Angeles, she was surrounded by art. Moved to join in the conversation, Angelina earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts at UCLA and studied animation at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and photography at the Art Center College of Design. Feeling confined by the canvas, Angelina chose to move her art to the streets and do large-scale murals. 

Her incredibly detailed works are known for featuring women’s vitality through their duality in being both strong and vulnerable. Each of her works depicts temporal, raw moments that encompass a lifetime in one image. 

Our own downtown Dubuque features two of her murals which are incredibly unique because both of them feature males as the subject. Back to back on the building located at 345 Main Street are “Young David” and “Justice,” each 114’ x 30’. 

Many of you have probably seen “Young David” in passing when driving down Main street. This mural features a young man releasing a bird with pyramids as the background. While painted blue, I assume that the bird itself is a white dove because the mural appears to have a blue filter over it. Releasing a dove has symbolized peace and love while blue tones convey trust, honesty, and tranquility. This suggests that the work is representative of a time of harmony and serenity. Paired with the pyramids, which symbolize life after death, and the title “Young David,” this work speaks to the soul. 

On the flip side of the building in the alleyway is another one of her works. Well hidden, I myself have never viewed “Justice.” Upon viewing, I was incredibly moved, to say the least. “Justice” features a Native American man who remains unidentifiable because a blindfold covers his eyes. The blindfold in itself suggests blindness of humanity in ignoring our history but also the blind trust the man has in the bird, whom in the image he is releasing from a cage, to guide him. Once again the pyramid suggests a belief in an afterlife and the blue tones imply that it is a peaceful place where all is set to rights and forgiven. 

I highly recommend going downtown yourself to see these wonderful works of art!

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