Overflow, 2023
Amanda Thackray and Wendell Jeffrey
permanant mural on Treat Place, Newark NJ

Overflow (2023) by collaborating artists Amanda Thackray and Wendell Jeffrey centers on climate change, storm frequency and severity, coastal flooding, and opportunities for climate resilience. It is located at 57 Treat Place in Newark, NJ. This is the artist's first large-scale mural, created in partnership with Four Corners Public Arts, stakeholder WM.S Rich & Sons, and a recipient of the 2021 New Jersey State Council of the Arts Coastal Risk Communication Campaign Grant.  

In recent years, flooding has expanded and our community is being forced to adapt to a new reality. Floods are both constant and at the same time ephemeral, leaving a trail of destruction once receded. The mural illustrates Hurricane Sandy's impact on the City of Newark, as it suffered from historic flooding. The flood data is rendered using patterning of Suminagashi marbling, an environmentally-friendly Japanese paper marbling technique that creates abstract patterns that mirror the movement of the water and parallel patterns of topographic mapping. In preparation for Overflow, the artists hosted two community workshops in Branch Brook Park during the summer of 2022 that educated residents and introduced the marbling process.

The completed mural allows the viewer to enter a dialogue with it by pinpointing their location (red dot on the map) in relation to the flood water data in the surrounding neighborhoods. A map also expands to show Newark’s relationship to the water that defines its eastern border - the Passaic River and Newark Bay, delineating the city’s relationship to the coastal waters along the shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean. A mounted map key, located in the lower right corner, identifies each layer of the map. A QR code included in the map key links to a range of relevant websites and information about other climate resilience projects. This information will allow the community to interact and take an active role in the project.

Overflow emphasizes the importance of preparation and raises awareness about the potential dangers that flooding can bring. By engaging passersby, and offering data and resources it aims to foster a sense of environmental consciousness and inspire individuals to take action, enabling our community to persevere through increasing climate crises.