Racial Healing Mural halts several passing through CUB

The mural painting, led by Jiemei Lin, was met with success in the Compton Union Building



Jiemei Lin and her team paint the Racial Healing Wall on a canvas in the CUB Jan. 17, 2023.

JULIA MESSEGEE, Evergreen reporter

Nestled in the Compton Union Building lies a beautiful canvas of flowers, animals and human figures.

Internationally recognized author, artist and illustrator Jiemei Lin and her team stopped CUB-goers in their tracks yesterday with the Racial Healing Mural they painted on Tuesday. The mural, which was painted from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. could be seen as one rounded the corner of the cafeteria.

The mural features illustrations of women from different Asian countries. Lin, who led the mural painting, said the colors, patterns and animals relate to traditional Asian culture; sacred animals like the red-crowned crane, which represents healing, were also featured in the mural.

The mural was not only about racial healing but mental health as well, Lin said. She also said the cultural representations promoted healing and justice while the mural’s plants embraced recovery, growth and self-care.

Lin said many say her work is full of color and beauty, but she hopes they aren’t pressured to feel a certain way. According to Lin, the importance of public art is just to express art as people pass and observe.

“I hope people can develop their own feelings about the painting whether they’re positive or negative,” Lin said. “They shouldn’t feel pressured to feel a particular way about it. If they think it’s beautiful, they should feel that. If they think it’s too much, they should feel that.”

Lin’s family has a history of depression, she said, which was a big reason why she focused the mural on both equality and mental health. Mental health is not focused on much in Asian and Pacific Island countries, Lin said.

Kau’i Samio, one of the painters on Lin’s team, said that after everything that has happened to Pacific Islanders because of colonization and racism, the mural brings a lot of beauty instead of hurt.

“We’re all the same, equity should be everywhere,” Samio said. “One person is not better because of this or that, we’re all human.”

Maurice Cottman, director of diversity, equity and inclusion in the College of Veterinary Medicine, said that the fact that the mural is being painted on the National Day of Racial Healing, a day WSU never recognized until now, makes the mural even more special.

“I’m from Philadelphia, and one of the things we’re known for is murals, so I’ve always loved art,” Cottman said. “I think this is an expression that you don’t get to see every day, and I didn’t know what it was going to look like, so it’s cool to come by and see it in production.”

Lin has painted murals in Pullman and Spokane. She painted End Racism Now, a Black Lives Matter mural in Pullman, through the Pullman Art Foundation. She also painted patterns of squares, dots and other shapes on a wall of Pullman’s McCoy Hotel. All of Lin’s works can be found on her website.

A decision on the final location of the Racial Healing Mural is yet to be made.