Shared by Joel

Family is everything to me. Its what gives sustenance and beauty to life. It is the essence of our culture.

I am african and that is a statement without explanation. My people have always been people of an extended family. That reality should be perpetuated by us all. Family is beautiful, it is who I be, the reflection of my African diaspora.


I write my family. Even if they dont write me back, because regardless, I love them!

I call them. Regardless of how much it costs me, because their voices are unparalleled to anything I have heard or felt.

I love them. Regardless of whether they love me back, because my tears for them are genuine.

I long for them. All of the time.

And that reality is what I remember (to do, think, and react to) before I commit the next crime.

My greatest suggestion is that people recognize that love will find a way. And the only way for Love to find a way is to leave a door open.

Never close the door. Whether you are in home, or in prison, you must always stay focused. In my heart I truly believe that. Stay focused and the future is up to us.

About Eric Okdeh

Eric Okdeh is a Philadelphia based muralist, who has been creating public art since 1998. After receiving his BFA in painting from Tyler School of Art, Eric chose to focus on mural work exclusively. Since 2002, in addition to his commissioned work, Eric has taught mural making classes to children and teens throughout the city as well as inmates at SCI Graterford Prison. The classes exist as leadership, teamwork, and skill building exercises which culminate in major mural projects. In an attempt to capture these significant community collaborations and interactions, Eric has developed this website and mural blog. The projects are journalized and documented in photographs and video clips to lend outside observers insight into the processes by which his murals come about. Eric has over 65 commissions throughout the city of Philadelphia and one in Seville, Spain. He has participated in mural projects in Tucson, Arizona and Los Angeles. His work is featured in four books about public and Mural art.
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