A new mural honoring the late comic Robin Williams was recently completed at the former Old Navy space at the Bay Street Shopping Center. The mural was created by artist @KeeneVision and was a partnership between Bay Street and Oakland Chinatown-based nonprofit 333 Arts (FKA “Dragon School”). 333 Arts are probably best known locally for their murals along Mandela Parkway in West Oakland.
The artist chose to feature Williams to bring attention to the plight of Mental Health and Wellbeing. Mental Health has come to the forefront of conversation amid the ongoing pandemic with more people isolated and struggling financially.
Williams, who took his own life in 2014, had well-documented struggles with mental health and depression which it was later revealed were partially related to a brain disorder.
These struggles were recently chronicled in the documentaries “Robin’s Wish” and HBO’s “Come Inside My Mind”. Williams’ son Zak opened up about his fathers’ struggles last year during Mental Health Awareness month which is held every May.
Williams, who hailed from Marin, was known for many iconic roles filmed in the Bay Area. Among these were the 1993 classic Mrs. Doubtfire which included a scene filmed at a Warehouse on 45th & Doyle (now used by Pixar and Head over Heels Athletic Arts).
“I wanted to pay tribute to someone from the Bay Area and also open the conversation about mental health and mental wellness and be able to speak to that,” KeeneVisions told SFGATE in this story. “Even if one person saw that message and it prompted them to make a call or reach out to someone and help then, then I’d consider this one a win.”
The completed mural contains another Bay Area Icon, Bruce Lee.
Murals of Williams have been created in other parts of the country including Logan Square in Chicago and a recently demolished mural in neighboring San Francisco.
KeeneVision is a Seattle-born artist who currently resides in the Bay Area according to their website. KeeneVisions has also created murals of other local celebrities including rap icons Too $hort, E-40 and Tupac.
Video: @keenevisions via Instagram
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