CBI Aftershocks Mural

Aftershocks Mural

Aftershocks Mural

An innovative collaboration of five diverse local artists 

At Community Building Initiative – we have worked hard to utilize and enhance a range of tools and experiences that advance our mission to increase equity and inclusion in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. For us, a bus can be more than just a bus – a talk more than a talk – and a meeting more than a meeting. In 2022, CBI wanted to make a shipping container more than a shipping container.

An innovative collaboration of five diverse local artists 

At Community Building Initiative – we have worked hard to utilize and enhance a range of tools and experiences that advance our mission to increase equity and inclusion in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. For us, a bus can be more than just a bus – a talk more than a talk – and a meeting more than a meeting. In 2022, CBI wanted to make a shipping container more than a shipping container.

From its beginning in 1997, Community Building Initiative has always integrated the arts within its community engagement strategy.

In 2022, CBI wanted to make a shipping container more than a shipping container.  An innovative collaboration of five diverse local artists was convened to illuminate the theme of CBI’s December 2021 Stakeholders Breakfast – “Reckoning with Aftershocks:  How do we Recommit, Reconnect and Rebuild?” – through the creation of a mural on a shipping container.  Thanks to the partnership of Charlotte Center City Partners, this container will be displayed in Victoria Yards on Seventh Street.  The location of the mural in the heart of uptown and near a number of current and possible partners such as the Levine Museum of the New South means that the potential for connections are many.


The mural was envisioned during the creative process that brought CBI’s 2021 Stakeholders Breakfast – our largest community offering – to life and as a way to advance and leverage the connections and conversations that began at the breakfast.


From its beginning in 1997, Community Building Initiative has always integrated the arts within its community engagement strategy.  CBI has tapped the power of varied arts media – from spoken word poetry to original and cultural music to theatre offerings – to connect people with one another and to engage them around the tough issues of racial inclusion and equity.  This mural is an extension of this approach.


Download our CBI Aftershocks Conversation Guide as a companion piece to the mural to have your own discussion about “aftershocks”!

Miss the 2021 Stakeholders Breakfast? Want to watch it again?

A full recap of the 2021 Stakeholders Breakfast is posted below!

Please visit our Things to Do page to stay connected with CBI.

About the Mural

The Aftershocks Mural is designed to be a graphic representation of wrestling with aftershocks and their impact, and a platform for exploring various community and national issues – economic inequality, educational disparities, our community’s enduring legacy of segregation, housing, health disparities and more. The mural will stimulate people to consider these “aftershocks” and provide opportunities for learning and connection, that will direct viewers to various online resources.


The team of five artists was chosen because they represent the talent within and the diversity of our community and because they have committed to a true collaborative process. Rather than each artist painting a portion of the 40-foot container, they came together to explore the theme, create the design and then execute the work as a team.


The mural will be integrated into CBI’s ongoing programming in 2022 and into 2023. We expect that LDI, LU40 and Equity Impact Circles will find opportunities to incorporate the mural and theme into program sessions, and the route of CBI’s very popular bus tours will be adapted to include Victoria Yards so as to highlight the mural and its message.


We are excited by the possibilities that the mural and its creation provide to explore the Aftershocks theme more deeply and intentionally through real-time, personal experiences. Whether people are part of an official CBI program or simply walking by Victoria Yards, they will see a container that is much more than a container – still fully functional but with an enhanced and creative purpose.

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Our Local Charlotte Artists

MyLoan Dinh, Multidisciplinary Artist


MyLoan Dinh is a multidisciplinary artist. Reflecting on her experiences as a former refugee and woman of color, her work addresses everyday manifestations of cultural identity, memory and displacement. She explores, through diverse media, the porous boundary between personal and collective history. Her observations are at times serious, at others ironic, or even satirical. She deconstructs materials, images, objects and texts to (re)construct personal experiences and narratives within the greater cultural context of which she is a part.

MyLoan Dinh was born in Saigon, Vietnam. Majoring in visual arts, she studied at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the School of Arts and Design at Wollongong University New South Wales, Australia. MyLoan has exhibited internationally and her work can be found in private and public collections in the United States, Germany and Switzerland, including the Mint Museum of Art and the Muhammad Ali Museum (Louisville, Kentucky) permanent collections. Notable recent awards and accomplishments include: The Arts & Science Council Creative Renewal Fellowship (2020); Charlotte Magazine BOB Best Local Artist (2020); Arts & Science Council Individual Artists Project Grant (2022, 2020, 2016); Knight Foundation Celebrate Charlotte Grant (2019); McColl Center Artist Residency (2019/20); Community Impact Grant from the Partnership for Democracy, Berlin (2016); Department of Arts and Culture of Berlin Individual Artists Grant (2013, 2012). MyLoan is the founder of an award-winning international multidisciplinary arts outreach and migration project, We See Heaven Upside Down. She is a member of the Asian American Women Artists Association (AAWAA) and the BKK, Professional Association of Visual Artists, Berlin. MyLoan is a mother of two. She works on creative projects with her husband Till Schmidt-Rimpler, founder and artistic director of Moving Poets, in the United States and Germany.

MyLoan co-founded Mural Ninjas with lifelong friend and colleague Michelle “Bunny” Gregory. Recent public art commission projects include: Monroe Road Corridor – MoRA Patchwork Crosswalks (2020/21); City of Charlotte Uptown Cycle Trail (2021-22); ArtPop Inspiration Project – The Relatives On Ramp Resource Center (2022) and Community Building Initiative “After Shocks” mural artists collaboration (2022).

Currently, MyLoan’s work is on view in the exhibition, Continuing Conversations at the Mint Museum of Art, Uptown and her expansive solo exhibition Mixed Blessings will open April 29 at Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art.

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Follow Myloan on Instagram at @myloandinh or visit her website at www.myloandinh.com

Jamil Dyair, Visual Artist


Jamil Dyair is a visual artist based in Charlotte, NC. Jamil Dyair is a proud graduate of West Charlotte Senior High School class of 2001. He studied fine arts at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and completed his Masters of Art Education at Winthrop University.  His illustrious artistic creations are deeply rooted in the human experience of minorities, marginalized communities, and youth. Using painting as his primary form of expression, Jamil Dyair specializes in unique portraiture, murals, and illustrations.  His inquisitive students also know him as Mr. Steele.   As a National Board Certified teacher, he is passionate about using his artistic career to inform his teaching instruction. His artistic inspiration comes from his Dad, Ernie Barnes, Norman Rockwell, and Kehinde Wiley. His work has been featured at the Art House in NoDa, Festival in the Park, Spirit Square, The Art Institute of Charlotte, The Center for the Arts in Rock Hill, Romare Bearden Park’s Annual Arts Festival, UNCC’s Projective Eye Gallery, NoDa @28th Creative Arts Center, and the McColl Center.

Jamil Dyair also worked as a lead artist with About Face Charlotte’s Blessing Box Campaign in 2018.  The finished painting depicting the kindness and compassion of children was donated to the Levine Children’s Hospital in honor of a former student living with advanced kidney disease. Jamil Dyair’s mural work includes the “Charlotte, Past, Present, and Future Mural” in Charlotte’s Historic West End, a community street mural in Charlotte’s Country Club Heights neighborhood, and three sidewalk murals along Montford Drive in South Charlotte, commissioned by the Charlotte Mecklenburg “Paint the Pavement” program.


Jamil Dyair is currently working on a mural honoring the accomplishments of the West Charlotte graduating class of 2020.  The mural features a commemoration honoring the lives of students who have died recently at West Charlotte High School.  Jamil Dyair’s future projects include West Charlotte’s 80th Anniversary Mural to be painted in West Charlotte’s new CMS building and four murals at Amaze apartments in NoDa this summer. In 2021 Dyair was commissioned by the city of Charlotte to paint the underpass retaining wall of I-77 and W. Trade St.  This mural spans over 181 ft in length and will serve as the gateway to Charlotte’s Historic West End.

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Owl was born in Bogota, Colombia where she spent a lot of her time in the family’s printing warehouse. She immigrated to the United States in 2001 and spent time working in her parents’ print shop through her teens. This constant exposure led to her current interest in printmaking and abstraction. She began developing the complexity of her ecosystems and currently applies her love for abstraction to her drawings, body painting, murals, installations, and screen-printing projects.


Owl has been a member of several artist collectives in Charlotte working to curate and create hand-crafted, original art – screen-printing, design, installations, murals, and more – to breathe life into bare spaces in the heart of the city. Her current affiliate, Brand the Moth, is a woman led collective that works with paint, branding, and uses positive messaging to expose vehicular and pedestrian traffic to street art, murals, and creative marketing and branding. They also work to provide a safe space for emerging artists to feel nurtured and supported.


Follow Owl on Instagram @owl.clt

Michelle “Bunny” Gregory


Michelle “Bunny” Gregory was born and raised in Charlotte, NC. She graduated with a degree in fashion illustration from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. After her degree, she was the head of design for eight years at the special events firm, Creatrix. Accomplishments include: QC Family Tree – Culture Bearers Residency (2022); 2022 Creatives to Watch – Charlotte is Creative; Charlotte is Creative HUG Grant recipient (2021); McColl Center Teaching Artist (2021); Moving Poets Artist in Residency in Berlin, Germany (2010) and is currently a Pallet Table Artist with 9189 Studio Gallery at VAPA. She has been a collaborating artist with Moving Poets for theatre productions and youth outreach projects since 2000.

Growing up in the 70s and 80s, Bunny realized there weren’t any venues for black artists to express themselves in Charlotte. Because of her love for hip hop and pop art, she opened her own venue, the UNDERGROUND, in 2014, which quickly became a staple platform for Charlotte-based urban artists, musicians, and poets. In 2017, Bunny was dubbed “Queen Mother of Charlotte’s Underground Hip Hop” by Creative Loafing Magazine. Her current project is a “Harlem Renaissance” on wheels. This UNDERGROUND Mobile Art Studio and Gallery serve underserved youth in Charlotte communities. Her mixed-media studio work is heavily influenced by Afrocentric culture addressing issues of racial and economic disparity, and it often uses illustration, comic book-style drawings, pen and ink, and collage on salvaged boards.


Bunny co-founded Mural Ninjas with lifelong friend and colleague MyLoan Dinh. Recent public art commission projects include: ArtPop Inspiration Project – The Relatives On Ramp Resource Center (2022); Community Building Initiative “After Shocks” mural artists collaboration (2022); City of Charlotte Bike Uptown CycleLink Bike panels (2022) and Monroe Road Corridor – MoRA Patchwork Crosswalks (2020/21).

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Follow Bunny on Instagram at @ug_battleofthearts

John Bates, Local Painter, Digital Artist and Muralist


John Bates is a local painter and muralist known for the “Stay Safe” mural at Burney’s Sweets and More in NoDa.  During the 2020 pandemic, he also worked with his father and other contractors to complete a 2200 square foot second story addition to the Elevated Society warehouse space, which will be utilized as a studio in which local artists and creatives can work.


Follow John and his creative endeavors


Follow John on Instagram @Cheeks.clt

2020 Stakeholders Breakfast Guest Speaker:

Poem Written and Performed by Hannah Hasan

Fault Lines

We have all shared the stories
Spoken the words about the communities
The neighborhoods that once were
The people who are actively being displaced
We harp on the memories
Give love and light to their legacies
We prepare for the catastrophe that almost always comes with being erased.


A fault is a fracture or disruption in the planets surface
It’s where the movement and displacement occurs
A fault line holds onto the pressure
It’s holding everything together
Until the tension becomes so great that it literally rocks the earth
Causes a convulsion
An earthquake, a tsunami, a disaster of grave proportions
It’s the tiny cracks
That form lines of division
That create the disasters
That result in disruption


And we speak their stories
Tell the tales of the people and families that once occupied this land (Catawba, Sugaree)
Name whole towns after them (Waxhaw)
And roads and streets (Tuckaseegee)
We wade in their waters, (Sugar Creek)
Have benefited from their traditions
A good ole southern city where the living is easy


We forge forward in the name of urban renewal
With trains and tracks that slice through entire neighborhoods (Optimist Park)
That displace whole families and generations of people who have lived and worked there (Enderly Park)


We Uproot stories and history
Without a second thought of the experiences and memories
Created by the people who built their communities with creativity and care (Wilmore)


And every time the people are erased (Brookhill)
Families are left out in the cold (Biddleville)
Beneath the surface (Lockwood)
Beyond the visible (Smallwood)
a crack is exposed


The plates begin to shift
Nature is taking its course
You can not think that you can disregard the most vulnerable, yet resilient of your city
And not be met with a catastrophic force
And not come face to face with the consequences of your actions
When what is in the ground can stay there no more
The people erupt
Movement happens
Perspectives shift
Cities shake
Lives are changed
Earths will quake


We speak their stories
Discuss with candor how they can no longer afford to live there (now-NODA)
About how their homes are purchased for pennies and torn down and REBUILT(First Ward)
Turn what meant something valuable to somebodies grandma (Grier Heights)
Into condos and townhomes
Half a million dollar builds (Seversville)


Disregard the irony
Of stripping yet another people from their home


Another crack reveals itself from beneath the surface
Another black community erased and displaced
A city with a crisis of consciousness
Another neighborhood goes up for purchase


Another family out on the streets
Ousted to the outskirts of the city
Or To the places without access
Now Those who can afford it are privileged to live in the the ugly houses turned to pretty
The fault lines exposed
What a beautiful mess


We tell the stories of the city
As we work for better days and respond with hope and courage
We fight injustice
But we can not ignore the cracks that have always existed beneath the surface


If we are to prevent greater disaster
If we are to save our communities while there is still time
We must go back to the difficult truths that exist beneath us
We must Follow the stories through the fault lines.

Read Full Poem

The CBI Aftershocks Mural Story

Aftershocks Mural is made possible in part by

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