Since 2009, Urban Forms Gallery has been transforming the landscape of Polish city Lodz with a pulsing wave of colorful, graphic images. Puerto Rican muralist Alexis Diaz (previously covered by HF) is the latest in a string of internationally-known street artists including Brazil’s Os Gemeos, Belgium’s ROA, and Australia’s SHIDA, to have been invited to touch his brush to Poland’s walls. Diaz’s mural, entitled “Sentir,” is part of the global series, “HOY.” Translated to “Today,” Diaz’s current series is a personal reflection of the way in which the artist sees the world. Following murals in Vienna, France, the US, UK, Australia, and Tunisia, “Sentir,” which translates to “to feel,” is an affecting tribute to the ties between the natural world and human sensation.
Painted using Chinese ink and brush, the enormous mural features an all-seeing eye over a human heart sprouting a bountiful tree. On either side of the life-giving organ stands butterfly wings. The image references the South American mythological tale, “The Wings of the Butterfly,” in which a young girl named Chimidyue follows a butterfly and finds herself lost in the Amazon. Chimidyue undergoes metamorphosis and becomes a butterfly so she is able to cross the river and return home safely. As a butterfly, she feels light and graceful and is delighted by a wider, less egocentric world view. Despite her elation, upon touching ground, Chimdyue transforms back into a human. She wishes she would remain in the body of a butterfly. The story ends with the line, “Then Chimidyue turned home, with a heart that had wings of a butterfly.”