Philadelphia artist Symone Salib hopes to spark social change with her work

Symone Salib partnered with General Motors for this artistic project
Symone Salib

Symone Salib is an artist based in Philadelphia who had the opportunity to showcase her work for General Motors at the Made in America festival.

Beasley spoke with rolling out about her art and what it means to her.


What is the story behind your ‘hood art?

My ‘hood is visually illustrated with a bunch of small little buildings with a technical feel on top of it. My view when I was making this was to make something with the understanding that when you live so close to people, you also have to make decisions that you don’t like. When we make decisions, we have to have the understanding that this is going to affect the people around us, especially when we live so close to one another. Whether that’s keeping your neighborhood together, showing up for the people around you, or even just like voting, we need to think about how we show up in the community and what we do as a team moving forward to make a world that we want to live in and be a part of. This piece is supposed to embody that kind of feeling and understanding and the privilege we have and knowing that we make decisions that can affect one another, and how powerful that can be.


How does it feel to be a part of Philadelphia’s culture?

It feels beautiful. I feel like Philadelphia helped me blossom into the person that I am. I feel like with tough love sometimes you don’t know how to express it, but in a way, it helped me grow and be my most authentic self. Philadelphia is the kind of place where you can show up [as] whoever you are, as weird as you are, as queer as you are, and you will be accepted with that. I love that. I’m blessed to be able to call this place home and pour back into the space.

What does art mean to you?

As an artist who makes work in a public space, and primarily does street art and murals, I think about how much art can ignite social change. When we think about the things that we’re seeing in our everyday life, whether that’s on our way to the train, or when we go to work, it’s about what we want to see. I make community-based work and that reflects literal people that live in Philly. As an artist, I feel like a visual anthropologist some of the time and I’m documenting my experience. It’s powerful, and I feel blessed to have any part in this movement.

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