As the art world flocks to Florida for the high-profile Miami Art Week, the city’s most tragic black-and-white figure is making a splash in the middle of Wynwood, thanks to an1,550-square-foot (83.5′ x 15.5’) mural of the lone, captive orca Lolita that proclaims, “Free Lolita!”
The mural can be seen on the 23rd street side of the building located at 2247 NW 1st Place, owned by animal advocate Mayor Philip Levine.
Lolita is currently held captive at the Miami Seaquarium in a cramped tank without protection from the sun and has had no contact with another orca since 1980, when her tank mate, Hugo, died from injuries sustained when he purposely rammed his head into the tiny tank’s concrete wall in an apparent suicide. PETA, Orca Network and animal advocates around the world are pushing for her to be transferred to a seaside sanctuary that’s waiting for her in her home waters, where she could interact with her family pod—including the orca believed to be her mother, who is still thriving in her 80s.
“Miami should be known for its vibrant culture, not for the smallest orca prison in North America,” says Levine. “This beautiful mural is helping make it clear that the Miami Seaquarium is no place for this far-ranging, majestic, and endangered orca, who desperately needs her freedom.”
The “Free Lolita” mural was painted by artists Shalak Attack and Bruno Smoky, a collaborative duo also known as Clanedestinos. The Toronto-based husband and wife work on art projects around the world focused on themes related to socio-cultural values as well as environmental issues. They are proud to join Art Week Miami 2015’s “Big Walls, Big Dreams,” a collection of six walls (and counting) in and around Wynwood, painted by 15 artists from around the world and curated by UP Art Studio, a Houston-based organization that facilitates public art and murals for communities, urban and contemporary artists, and organizations.