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Miami, (EFE) – Three Miami urban artists have used a wall in the artsy Wynwood neighborhood as a canvas on which to display the 49 names of the innocent lives snuffed out at Orlando's Pulse nightclub last month.
The rear wall of the O Cinema building in the heart of Wynwood, a neighborhood known for its creative graffiti, is 26.2 feet high and 66 feet long, a large space on which to display the names but not large enough to encompass the horror of the 49 lives taken by a gunman with an assault rifle at the popular gay discotheque.
"When they gave me the files with all the names of the people killed, when they put them into my hand, I felt great emotion and I said to myself: 'No, this is something much bigger than painting on a wall,'" the mural's creator, Pedro Amos, told EFE.
Two friends, both of them also urban artists – Luis Valle and Jona Cerwinske – helped Amos bring the mural to life over an intense four-day period, with barely any rest, using scaffolding and colorful aerosol paints.
"I wanted to give each name individuality, a different color and writing to the people who died, so that neither the memory of those people, nor that horror, is ever forgotten," Amos said, visibly moved. "It was powerful, powerful," he added, in a soft voice, still submerged in the huge emotional wave of the experience.
During the project, people would spontaneously gathered – sometimes hundreds of them – in the area before the wall, silent and sad, carrying candles, to watch the painters work.
So intense was the feeling of that vigil that, on one occasion, Amos said, "I stopped painting for a moment, turned around and saw all those people here, watching. And yes, I broke down. It was powerful."
On the mural is a huge heart, taking up a good part of the wall.
What was at the beginning conceived as a piece of urban artwork starting with the rainbow flag, the symbol of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual community, gave way to a work that touches all of humanity.
"At the start, we were going to work with the LGBT flag, but right away I noticed that it was a problem affecting all of humanity, not only gays," said Amos.
He said it seems that many people who come to see the mural and take photos are not aware, at first, of its representation of the loss of human lives and the tribute it pays to them. They are attracted more by the colorful heart, but – he said – once they hit on what it means "they change, they begin to read the names and they see it in another way."