If walls could talk: Augmented reality brings history to life in Galveston

By VALERIE WELLS Correspondent

The Daily News / Jun 14, 2021

GALVESTON

Danny Asberry El held out his mobile phone and scanned part of the “Absolute Equality” mural at the corner of 22nd Avenue and The Strand.

Instantly, his phone app recognized the painting and offered videos, recordings and text regarding the massive mural’s background and context.

He did the same thing in front of the traditional Juneteenth historical marker Thursday to demonstrate how to access the innovative meeting of technology, art and culture.

Asberry El is founder and president of Solel International, a nonprofit organization based in Houston. Solel International added augmented reality elements to the mural and to many historic markers in Galveston.

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HOUSTON, TX, September 18, 2019 /Solel International hosted the first cultural renaissance in 106 years that highlights the Moorish American community. “The Moro Americana” event was filled with cultural performances, food and rich history.

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TED.com featuring Richmond “HOTLINE” Shaw

Born and raised in the City of Pontiac, Michigan in the USA, Richmond Shaw, also known as ‘Hotline,’ among many music listeners worldwide, is undoubtedly one of the fastest growing hip-hop artists. Described as a ‘great lyricist’ by the NY Times, Hotline is also a performer who has mastered the art of poetry and motion.

He went on to work with rapper 50 Cent, G-Unit, Kelly Rowland, Yung Joc and Kurtis Blow to name a few. Having produced and released over seven albums and mix-tape compilations, Hotline has performed and worked with various international artists from USA, Germany, France, Pakistan, Iraq, UAE, Qatar, and Bahrain.

In addition to his abilities in music, Hotline was also a member of the cast of the 2004 Oscar-nominated movie ‘Gunner Palace.’ This documentary features a group known as the ‘Gunners’ who are American soldiers of the 2/3 Field Artillery sharing their experiences in Baghdad during the Iraq War.

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Houston Area’s First Commissioned Augmented Reality Mural

Neighborhoods are looking to conceptualize their vision for the future as inclusive communities and cultural destinations. Solel international made his debut with his first large scale Mural depicting the history of the historic independence Heights as the first municipality To be incorporated by African-Americans in Texas.

In 2018, Solel international made its debut with it’s first large scale mural approximately 50 ft by 34 ft on the Whole Foods 365 building on the intersection of Yale and 610 freeway. However, with neighbors with history as layered and as rich as theirs, a large scale visual piece was not enough. Solel international took it a step further by helping to tell the story in the palm of your hands Using augmented reality thanks to its long-standing partnership with the Uncover Everything App.

To achieve this vision, Solel International went through a rigorous process through a call for Artists. We presented a visual representation for a sketch but also a demo of the augmented reality software we would incorporate with the mural. The project was led by Moorish-American artist Danny Asberry El, Craig Carter, Jajah, Jeff McCollum Campbell , the Uncover Everything App, ZinkNashly in partnership with Whole Foods 365, Charnele Brown actress from the reknown series “A Different World”, Home Depot and Lowe’s. In the beginning we just wanted to Create a 4 dimensional experience for the patrons of the Independence Heights area, but in hindsight-what the organization did not know is that history was made with this augmented reality mural.