Take a walk down Balmy Alley — between 24th and 25th on one side, and Treat and Harrison on the other — and you’re greeted with a synesthetic explosion of colors, shapes and stories adorning facades of old garages. Some of these murals are ancient, some are newer, but all of them tell the stories of Mission residents and tackle the issues from every era: race, culture, gender identity, police brutality and political activism.
San Francisco native Lucia Ippolito is adding another mural to Balmy’s rich collection. Tentatively titled “Women of the the Resistance,” it features prominent female activists from past and present generations and from all regions of the world.
“We’re all angry right now,” she said. “So we decided to represent the faces of the women fighting for the cause.”
The mural-to-be illustrates themes from modern America with imagery of corporate puppet-masters pulling strings over oil rigs that leak into the ground, all painted in cool tones. Below it, burning warm in the middle of the mural are young female activists like Ahed Tamimi, a Palestinian woman who was jailed for slapping an Israeli soldier after hearing that troops had shot her cousin. Toward the middle are Bay Area activists like Lara Kiswani, who works for the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, and Mission muralist Nancy Pili Hernandez.
Getting approval to start the mural wasn’t too difficult. The garage had another mural originally painted by Edythe Boone on it, but the door was going to have be replaced. Ippolito had to reach out to Boone’s lawyer and get the green light, and then pitched her mural idea to the property owners before starting work.
She plans to have the mural finished by mid-August.