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Photographs by Darrow Montgomery

The Protectors

“The general concept was to create a mural that represents the seasons in Washington, D.C.,” says Peter Krsko, the executive director of street-art nonprofit Albus Cavus, which organized the work through the District’s MuralsDC program. The seasons stretch left to right from an anthropomorphized sun 1, created by San Francisco artist Chor Boogie. “He lays hundreds of colors so they really become saturated,” says Krsko. The sun is one of several “protector” figures watching over the mural’s neighborhood setting along with to Mother Earth 2 and Father Time 3, which were painted by D.C. artist Asad “Ultra” Walker. “They’re representations of the time and space where we’re living,” says Krsko. “They’re not supposed to be gods or anything like that.”

Spring and Summer

“The mural is in a neighborhood away from the federal part of D.C.,” says Krsko, discussing a tourist figure 4 painted by D.C. artist DECOY, “but the reflection in the camera brings in the mall part of DC.” A tree separating spring from summer 5 is partially white, representing the cherry blossoms (Krsko painted the tree’s psychedelic interiors himself). The neighborhood-appropriate rowhouses running through the entire piece 6 were made by Leon Rainbow, a Trenton, N.J.-based artist who is one of the founding members of Albus Cavus.

Fall and Winter

DECOY also created the elderly couple and mother and child 7 sitting on a bench between summer and fall. “They represent the makeup of the community,” Krsko says. Orange pumpkins dot some of the rowhouses, while the rightmost set of homes seems to have been the recent victim of a Snowmageddon 8. Looming over it all is the Howard University clock tower, which is surrounded by snowflakes 9 whose stencils were designed by inmates in Montgomery County with whom Albus Cavus works. “They created the stencil inside the facility and we took it out and we painted it on the wall,” Krsko says. A miniature version of the entire portrait sits in the bottom right corner. 10