Berkeley resident and prominent local artist Doran Dada unveiled his newest mural at 2274 Shattuck Ave. on Friday afternoon.
The mural was painted on the now-shuttered doors of the Regal United Artists 7 theater, which closed in late January. The theater was beloved for its art deco interior and exterior design which Dada paid homage to in his piece.
“With this one, I wanted to do something that would match the building really well,” Dada said. “So I played around a couple of different designs, but I already had this goddess Isis as NFT digital file that I recently created, and I was like let’s try this one, and when I saw it, it was just a perfect match.”
The piece is titled “Goddess Isis/Aset in Art Deco” after the Egyptian goddess Isis — the goddess of healing and magic — according to Egyptian mythology.
Dada named his art style “Egyptian Wonderland” which incorporates Egyptian hieroglyphs, bright colors and geometric shapes. It is a modern, masterful take on ancient themes. This piece in particular features Isis as a focal point, surrounded by snakes and other stylized hieroglyphs.
“It’s kind of nice to be representing here and blessing. I was like, protecting the space and so that was sort of the energy theme I went with,” Dada said.
Patrick Kennedy, the owner of Panoramic Interests, the development group that bought the theater, says the mural will likely be up for a year while construction for the new development takes place. The proposed plan is to build a 17-story housing complex on the site with a Venetian-style coffee house in the lobby which Kennedy assures will have renovated features of the art deco pieces from the theater’s lobby.
As far as what will become of Dada’s mural once the renovations are over, Kennedy hopes to either bring it inside or hire Dada for another piece.
“I hope it survives the next year and can make it into the lobby because we have a lot of space,” Kennedy said.“The lobby is 27 feet tall, so we may even need a second one.”
The mural was co-sponsored by the Downtown Berkeley Association and the Office of City Councilmember Kate Harrison of District 4, according to Harrison.
This is the second mural this year that Dada has completed in Berkeley as a part of the city’s beautification efforts. In addition to the increase in commissioned artwork by local artists, the city has hired teams of employees to maintain the various landscaping installations and dozens of planter boxes that help make the pedestrian experience more visually appealing, according to Downtown Berkeley’s website.
“How people view our downtown is so dependent on it being beautiful,” Harrison said. “It’s not just about being efficient, so this is a pure example of adding beauty to an urban space.”