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Collaborative mural in Washington raises awareness for Americans detained in Russia

US Hostages Mural
Posted at 1:08 PM, Jul 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-20 22:28:53-04

People began showing up around the alleyway next to a Washington, D.C. pub in the city's affluent Georgetown neighborhood to witness the posting of images of people that many believe are wrongly detained in Russia.

The mural's concept includes images of 18 people, including American WNBA star Brittney Griner, and another U.S. citizen named Paul Whelan.

Some of the images are enlargements of photos provided by family members who say they are the last images they have of their loved ones.

People down an alley past a mural depicting WNBA star Brittney Griner, top left, and other American hostages and wrongful detainees who are being held abroad, Wednesday, July 20, 2022, in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Neda Shargi, whose brother Emad Shargi is included in the mural, was quoted in the Washingtonian as saying, “It’s a campaign of families that have basically found each other and come together to help one another, get through this, and also to advocate for the release of our loved ones, and advocate the administration to not forget them and to bring them home.”

People gather in an alley emblazoned with a mural depicting American hostages and wrongful detainees who are being held abroad, Wednesday, July 20, 2022, in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington. Pictured at top left is U.S. Marine Corps veteran and Russian prisoner Paul Whelan. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The mural's idea and design were conceived by an artist from Iowa called Isaac Campbell, who went with a black and white color scheme. He will be helping families and people who pass by with cutting and pasting the photos to the wall using a non-toxic adhesive made of flour, water and sugar, which creates a biodegradable glue.

A woman steps through a door that is covered by a mural depicting American hostages and wrongful detainees who are being held abroad, Wednesday, July 20, 2022, in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington. At left is Siamak Namazi, who has been in captivity in Iran since 2015. At right is Jose Angel Pereira, who has been imprisoned in Venezuela since 2017. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Sharghi told the Washingtonian, “Time is something that’s really always on our mind. I constantly keep a tally of how long my brother has been gone, when the last birthday he was able to attend was. So the fact that time is so much a part of the mural is remarkable,” she said. “And we hope that our loved ones will come home before this mural fades away.”