Salus Populi Suprema Lex Esto-Skid Row, Los Angeles. 2018
A site-specific mural by Faith XLVII entitled “Salus Populi Suprema Lex Esto” has appeared on Skid Row, Los Angeles.
The large-scale public installation adorns the city wall, giving a monumental space to some of America’s most marginalized people; the homeless. Skid Row is home to one of the largest populations of homeless people in the United States, with an estimated 2,500 people living on the streets within its .4 square mile radius.
The title of the work, which translates to “the welfare of the people shall be the supreme law,” is a critique on the capitalistic dream, which lacks institutional empathy for non-active participants. According to CareerBuilder, 80% of Americans live from paycheck to paycheck, and are only one financial emergency or unexpected expense away from being destitute. The homeless population includes the elderly, those with physical and mental health conditions, addicts, veterans and those that lack the larger familial or structural support systems needed in a financial bind.
As the artist further explains, “the work is a continuation of a recent video installation in Jacksonville Florida titled ‘By Virtue Of’. We’re taking a deeper look at the blind spot in which we as a society fail to engage on a humanistic level with those less fortunate.”She believes a healthy society should provide a wide range of services to assist and help its citizens live a humane and dignified life. Access to clean drinking water, education, healthcare and shelter should be fundamental priorities.
“One of the things that shocked me when I moved to the USA was the amount of homelessness and the lack of support for people in need. With tax cuts going directly to the rich, social services being reduced and the unaffordable cost of healthcare, one can see that homelessness is symptomatic of deeper fundamental policies that will become a much larger problem if the root causes are not addressed.”
The mural was produced by Colabs, a visual arts consulting firm and production company specializing in socially conscious installations and content.