June 10, 2022 - February 12, 2023
Philadelphia artist Isabella Akhtarshenas was a troubled teen who moved to Philadelphia in 2015. She said, “since I have lived in the city, it has turned my life around and unlocked my potential.” She has expressed her personal love for Philadelphia in the artwork as it represents “the lesser-known places and happenings. No Liberty Bell, no LOVE statue, no Rocky.” The imagery features the quirky personality of the city—all the things that makes Philly, “Philly.”
Known as a “city of neighborhoods,” the painting includes three areas--West Philadelphia, Center City, and South Philly. West Philly is pictured on the left with chess players in Clark Park, Victorian-style houses, the oldest surviving Gingko tree in North America, urban cowboys, fishing on the banks of the Schuylkill River, and Porchfest described as “a do-it-yourself music festival featuring free shows on porches all over the neighborhood.” In the middle, is Center City (not City Center or downtown), with Philly’s prominent skyline, a SEPTA trolley, Philly Elmo Drumline, the infamous destruction of HitchBOT, and the public artworks—Clothespin by Claes Oldenburg and All Power to All People, a large-scale Afro pick by Hank Willis Thomas. And, on the right, is South Philly depicted by row homes, Flyer’s mascot Gritty, water ice (pronounced wooder ice), and daredevil cyclists.
One last, and very important element to point out, especially from a sports fan perspective—Swoop holding the Vince Lombardi Trophy in celebration of the Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl Championship victory.
There is much to enjoy in Akhtarshenas’s tour of Philly’s favorite things.