Landmark Barracks Row Mural Nears Completion
Artists Gaia and Nanook Expect to Finish Tomorrow
by Larry Janezich
Internationally known street artist Gaia, whose work has received critical acclaim on its merits as well as for helping to revitalize blighted areas of the his adopted city, says he and his associate, NYC street artist Nanook, will complete the mural on the side of Tash and Nooshi restaurants on Saturday.
The piece reflects Gaia’s interest in the use of animal imagery in urban settings as a commentary on what he has termed “looming environmental calamity.” “Gaia” was the primordial earth goddess and mother of all the heavenly gods in Greek mythology.
Gaia moved to Baltimore after high school and studied for four years at the Maryland Institute of the College of Art. Afterward, he decided to stay in Baltimore and use art to explore his interest in the evolution of neighborhoods. He developed a reputation as a talented and imaginative artist whose works stand alone on their merit, aside from their context. In 2012, Gaia curated Open Walls Baltimore, supported by the PNC Community Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, in which 22 muralists used art to help revitalize blighted areas of the city. See the Huffington Post story here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jaime-rojo-steven-harrington/baltimore-opens-its-walls_b_1551415.html He was subsequently invited to create a piece for the Baltimore Museum of Art Contemporary Wing.
Immediately after completion of the Tash/Nooshi mural, Gaia and Nanook will take their spray paint to the condo building at 1815 Benning Road, the site of their next project.
Tash and Nooshi co-owner Vanessa Lin commissioned the mural for the south side of the building at 524 8th Street, SE, earlier this year. The project received a mostly positive reception from the community, with some residents voicing criticism about its appropriateness in a Historic District.
The building, formerly occupied by Chateaux Animaux, currently houses Tash House of Kabob, run by Lin’s husband, Nariman Modanlou, on its first floor. The second floor restaurant, Nooshi (noodles and sushi) will be run by Lin and is scheduled to open its doors for the first time and participate in the Barracks Row Taste of 8th tomorrow when 22 restaurants will serve samples of their most popular or newest dishes from 1:00pm until 4:00pm. Tickets are $5.00 each or five for $20.00.
The couple owns two other similar restaurants – the original Nooshi downtown, and Moby Dick House of Kabob in Ashburn.