Though Asheville is built on the ancestral land of the Anigiduwagi, the legacy of Indigenous culture is often difficult to discern in our city’s day-to-day landscape.
The Indigenous Walls Project, launched by local street artist and business owner Jared Wheatley, hopes to change that narrative one mural at a time.
Five months since Jared first painted the Cherokee Syllabary on a vacant wall near Coxe Ave., the amount of Indigenous street art has already flourished exponentially in Asheville.
Now, seven murals and roughly 8,000-sqft of wall space downtown are adorned with Native art — and this weekend, an additional 10,000-sqft worth of mural art will be installed throughout the city at the Intertribal Graffiti Jam.
“One thing that we’re really proud of is trying to represent the diversity of Indigenous culture and welcome it in a different way,” Jared says.
“We focus deeply on the urban Native, the people who live off the reservation and don’t have access to their culture on a daily basis... we’re also trying to build a bridge from the Qualla Boundary to here — to allow those folks to feel more comfortable visiting the area,” he adds.
The Graffiti Jam’s visiting artists span from Portland, OR and Los Angeles, CA to St. Paul, MN — and they represent 10 unique tribal nations, including the Cherokee, Navajo, Diné, Yaqui, Purépecha, Apache, Quechan, Arawak, Menomimen, and Ojibwe.
In addition to these live art installations, there will be several events this weekend.
On Fri., Oct. 21, 6-9 p.m., the Wortham Center will host a ticketed screening of the documentary “Mele Murals,” followed by a panel discussion about the Intersection of Indigeneity + Street Art. The same evening, there will also be a Silent Disco at Rabbit Rabbit featuring music from DJ Oskar Malinalli.
Then, on Sat., Oct. 22, 8 a.m.-3 p.m., there will be an Indigenous Market at 46 Aston St., featuring 20+ Native vendors selling jewelry, baskets, fry bread, and beyond.
Want to get involved with the Indigenous Murals Project? Follow along via their Instagram page.