The M&T – William Emslie YMCA Mural

Edreys Wajed, co-founder of Eat Off Art had the honor of designing the new mural located on the wall of the William-Emslie Wall next to the newly installed M&T Bank ATM. The mural was installed by the Eat Off Art team.

The portraits in this mural are meant to serve as a representation, a small glimpse and snapshot of the Black community. On the right side, the elder, a mother; grandmother and senior citizen, holds a proud posture and glowing expression. She is looking into the future. Part of that future and its success rests partly in the hands of the youth. The young man on the left, gestures his lower hand towards the elder, suggesting an accepting of responsibility, with love and respect. The expression on his face is to symbolize joy and a feeling of true freedom, with his right arm lifted, hand open, to receive blessings.

The patchwork of colors in the background were inspired by a birds-eye view of the surrounding streets, symbolizing neighborhoods and the diverse communities that the YMCA and M&T Bank continue to bring together, serve and support.

To elaborate on the color selection:

  • Black – Power and Elegance
  • Green – Growth and Balance
  • Yellow – Joy and Opportunity
  • Orange – Creativity and Adventurous
  • Purple – Royalty and Imagination
  • Blue – Freedom and Self Expression

Quote from M&T Bank on the new mural at William-Emslie YMCA

Edreys Wajed’s new mural captures the spirit of what M&T Bank and the William Emslie Family YMCA are working to accomplish every day – to bring people together and make a difference in their lives. It provides a stunning depiction of the diversity and resiliency of East Buffalo, offering a hopeful message that connects people across generations and cultural identities.

Our team at M&T Bank hopes this mural will remind people what exists behind this painted wall – support and resources to help build healthy minds, bodies, and spirits, as well as educational tools to help families achieve financial empowerment in a historically underserved area of Western New York. Last year, we opened a branch inside the William Emslie Family YMCA to provide greater access to financial guidance. Collaborating with the Y, our goal is to help address issues that have persisted for decades – and break those cycles, providing support that uplifts our community and helps people achieve their financial goals.

This is the second collaboration between M&T Bank and Edreys Wajed, who has demonstrated a unique ability to tell compelling stories through his art. His portrayal of Buffalo-born jazz legend Grover Washington, Jr. was painted on the exterior of M&T’s Kensington branch in 2020. With this latest mural, he sought to provide an artistic glimpse into Buffalo’s Black community and the intergenerational connections that exist within it.

Quote from YMCA on the new mural at William-Emslie YMCA

Together with our great partners at M&T Bank, the YMCA Buffalo Niagara wishes to thank Buffalo-based artist, educator, and entrepreneur Edreys Wajed for his work on this important project. He managed to capture the resilience exhibited by the East Buffalo community in this brilliant work of art and provide visitors to the William-Emslie Family YMCA with a sense of pride and hope for the future.

The imagery symbolizes the critical role the older generation plays in the lives of our youth. It also displays the responsibility that the young people who use our facility tell us they feel about carrying on the legacy of their elders and building a better future for themselves. 

The partnership between the William-Emslie Family YMCA and M&T Bank is meant to bring much-needed educational resources to this neighborhood, helping families of East Buffalo manage their personal and financial health and well-being. We are proud of what this location is doing for the community and are thrilled to be a canvas for this latest addition to Buffalo’s extensive and impressive collection of murals. 

The William-Emslie YMCA is located at 585 William Street, Buffalo, New York 14206

In Process Photos


27th Pappy Martin Jazz Festival “Celebrating Women in Jazz”

Pappy Martin Jazz Festival 2022

This Years artwork for the Jazz Festival was created by Alexa Joan Wajed. The Committee was looking for something that spoke to music and women, something whimsical but elegant and something that made you think of jazz.

[Excerpt from the Buffalo News]

This year’s Pappy Martin Legacy Masten Jazz Festival bears the imprimatur “Celebrating Women in Jazz,” and will feature a lineup of woman-led and woman-featuring ensembles, among them headliners the Baylor Project, Curtis Lundy with Brianna Thomas, Endea Owens & the Cookout and the Shamie Royston Quartet, as well as regional artists George Caldwell with Curtis Lovell, Darcel Blue, Carol McLaughlin with Joyce Carolyn, Zhanna Reed and Charles Reedy with Sandra Gilliam.

For Berry-Walker, this celebration of female artistry has been a long time coming.

“This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, and we’ve been sporadically presenting women artists. But this year, it needed to be more,”

Read More


July/August Buffalo Magazine – Cover by Alexa Joan

Buffalo Magazine Cover Art – Instagram Post

The creative arts are where so many of us turn to process, reflect and begin to heal.

In the days following the tragic white supremacist attack on our Black community, we offered the artist and cofounder of @eatoffart the space to express herself. Her striking artwork accompanies a new piece, “Unanswered Question,” by @poet_jillian_hanesworth and a personal reflection by writer @tiffromthe6. Find them at the link in our bio.

Buffalo Magazine July/August 2022 – Cover Art by Alexa Joan

Shout out to Jillian Hanesworth for the amazing poem  –

 


“Power Couple” WNY – Buffalo Spree July/Aug 2022

Actually, we tied with Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs…

What do you think? Are we the Best Power Couple here in Buffalo.

Edreys & Alexa Joan Wajed

Artists. Creatives. Entrepreneurs. There are so many ways to describe Edreys and Alexa Joan Wajed. She is a chef, adjunct professor, project manager, jewelry designer, and artist. He, too, is a renowned artist whose work has been exhibited all over town and in perpetuity on the Freedom Wall and other public artworks, including the Good Trouble mural depicting the late John Lewis and Love Black (last year’s winner of best new mural). Together, their business is Eat Off Art, which offers creative problem-solving and consulting, along with art prints, clothing, jewelry, and more.

eatoffart.com, alexajoan.com, edreys.com

Commissioned in 2020 by the Albright-Knox Art Galley Public Art Initiative in response to the social unrest centered around the murder of unarmed Black citizens, Love Black (by Edreys Wajed and James “YAMES” Moffitt) is plea a for humanity, compassion, and change. After the racially-motivated May 14 shooting in Buffalo, Wajed shared, “It is important to note that my good friend and fellow artist Yames, who is white and doesn’t share the weight and burden of the collective Black experience, made it his duty to contribute to this dialogue-inspiring public art. This conversation suggested by the mural is now more necessary than ever, in order for healing to begin.”


Free and Unlimited

“I am free and unlimited in
my ability to live my personal
legend and create my story as
magical as it gets. I trust my
uniqueness and my brilliance.”
~ Lukas Notes

#EatOffArt


© 2022 Eat Off Art. All rights reserved | Design & Develop by Breland Designs LLC.