Illuminating the Multidimensional: Michael Aghahowa’s “Affirmations to My Community” Mural

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Photos by Francois Visuals

In the heart of Lynn, Massachusetts, a new mural has emerged, casting light on the city’s vibrant community and the multifaceted individuals who call it home. Local artist Michael Aghahowa’s latest work, “Affirmations to My Community,” is a testament to the power of art in combating the monolithic portrayal of marginalized groups in America.

Photos by Francois Visuals

Collaborating with SPUR, a Marblehead-based nonprofit, and former KIPP Academy students Sal Castillo and Elisha Torres, Aghahowa spent five months crafting a visual representation of the scattered light that illuminates the truth of history. The mural, strategically located near three schools and the Demakes Family YMCA, aims to inspire the city’s youth and convey that any challenge can be overcome.

Aghahowa’s body of work critically examines the social, political, and cultural perspectives surrounding marginalized groups in America. Through portraiture, he creates a space that feels like a void, yet the presence of the individuals depicted is a testament to their agency. The subtle details, or “Easter eggs,” hidden within the mural invite viewers to look closer and discover the depth of each person’s story.

Video by Jaeel Beato’s Lens

The mural celebrates the achievements of community leaders such as Doneeca Thurston, Nicole McClain, and Natasha Megie-Maddrey, showcasing the attainability of positions of influence for Lynn’s youth. It also pays homage to Jason Cruz of Raw Art Works, whose belief in the transformative power of public art has inspired Aghahowa’s journey as an artist.

Amidst the celebration, the mural also mourns the loss of four young men – Abraham Diaz, Jandriel Heredia, Kyle Mel, and Isaiah Acevedo – who fell victim to gun violence in late 2023. Their inclusion is a powerful reminder of the need for reflection and action to prevent such tragedies in the future.

Michael Aghahowa’s use of charcoal, scrap paper, and molding paste, alongside acrylic paint, echoes the characteristics of his previous works. In conjunction with the mural’s content, these materials underscore the artist’s commitment to shedding light on history’s curated projection of specific groups and combating the notion that people are monolithic.

As passersby engage with the mural, reading the affirmations and absorbing its message, Aghahowa’s vision comes to life. “Affirmations to My Community” is more than just a work of art; it reflects the resilience, diversity, and potential within Lynn and its people.

Photo by Francois Visuals


Through this mural, Michael Aghahowa and his collaborators have created a lasting testament to the power of art in illuminating the multidimensional nature of individuals and communities. As the city of Lynn continues to grow and evolve, “Affirmations to My Community” will stand as a beacon of hope, inspiring generations to come.

Affirmations to my Community

Michael Aghahowa

95 Pleasant St.

Lynn Ma.

Francois Visuals

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