This mural by Jade Rivera is called El Templo – Find the Light. It takes up the west side of a building at 2536 Central Avenue, facing an empty lot and 26th Street South.
The mural is forty-five feet wide and thirteen feet high, with a background of deep blue and black. It shows a boy laying on his back, across the whole length of the wall, his head on the left and feet on the right.
The boy has brown eyes and thick dark brown hair. He wears a white T-shirt and gray shorts. His left hand rests on his hip, his right arm is resting across his stomach. His right knee is cocked sideways towards us, his left leg straight along the wall. His bare feet are shaded in blue light.
In the center of the boy’s chest is a candle on a gold-brown saucer, with a bright tall flame burned almost to the wick. A large blue ibis sits on his belly in a small blue pool of water, its beak plunged into another small blue pool at the boy’s heart, as if he’s fishing. Candlelight reflects onto the bird, and onto the boy’s right arm.
Perched on the boy’s neck is a huge monarch butterfly almost as big as the ibis, its gold, black and orange wings spread wide, flitting against the boy’s cheek. The boy looks serenely up and away, as if unaware of the bird and the butterfly. The ibis and butterfly reflect the Florida reality surrounding the boy – the ibis is an iconic Florida bird found along the coastline or wandering through the streets. The candle represents light from the soul.
It’s a startling image for passing drivers and pedestrians – peaceful, but unsettling, with the oversized butterfly touching the boy’s face and the bird’s beak digging in his chest.
Jade Rivera is a self-taught fine artist and muralist based in Peru. His work has a deep connection to Peruvian life and culture. He often paints in older or marginalized neighborhoods, to bring art to the people who live there.
Rivera says he tries to bring an atmosphere of poetry to his work, using the eyes, gestures, faces and body positions like the verses of a poem.