My first mural was through PATTERN for the Murals for Racial Justice with the Indy Arts Council. It was the four-panel piece with James Baldwin on one side and Audre Lorde on the other. I did that mural during Pride, June 2020. I thought that was important to represent in that space in that moment, and it was heartfelt because black gay men were coming up to me while I was painting and being like, “Listen, I never thought I’d see myself represented in the city, so thank you for being out here and doing this.”
Kaila Austin is an artist and public historian from Indianapolis, Indiana. She attended Indiana University, working towards a triple major in Art History, African American & African Diaspora Studies, and Painting. Austin was the recipient of multiple fellowships for her work in creating more inclusive and accurate exhibits, histories, and displays in institutions in the Midwest.
In her paintings, Austin works primarily in figures, working to place everyday people into enlightened positions using the history of Western portraiture and contemporary collage as a talking point on how the past influences the present. She was one of the muralists for the Murals for Racial Justice Program through the Arts Council of Indianapolis and is working to create several more murals around the Midwest based on creating spatial justice for Black people within the urban cityscape.
Since 2019, Austin has run her own historic consulting organization at the intersection of creative placemaking and heritage preservation. Since 2021, she has been working with the small African American neighborhoods of Norwood and Barrington on their Community Revival Plan, a multi-pillared plan to uplift and preserve their history and to use the arts as a tool to build strong, beautiful, thriving communities.