A Levi’s jacket is part of a new mural that pays tribute to the indigenous peoples in Toledo, Ohio.
Located at the ADM grain facility on the east bank of the Maumee River, the mural is the largest in the U.S. spanning 28 silos measuring approximately 170,000 square feet. More than 2,850 gallons of paint were used to create the installation.
Levi’s reported the news on its Unzipped blog.
Titled “Glass City River Wall,” the mural serves as a reminder of how Native Americans are part of the Toledo community. The art depicts sunflowers and three portraits of a Native American elder, mother and child. The models used for the portraits are from three different tribes: the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, the Shawnee Tribe and the Dakota Tribe.
The mother wears a Levi’s Trucker jacket—complete with a four-foot-wide button and two-and-a-half foot Red Tab. The brand describes the Trucker as the largest Levi’s jacket in the U.S.
Known for portraits and camouflage backgrounds, artist Gabe Gault was selected to design the mural. “Gault’s design was chosen to showcase Toledo’s past, present and future and highlight the historical importance of agriculture and the first farmers as the foundation of the region’s economic development,” Levi’s said.
Gault completed the project last month with the help of a crew of local artists and muralist Eric Henn.
Its competition was celebrated with the Dakota and Shawnee Tribes, including visits from the models used for two of the portraits: the “elder,” Mary Louise Defender Wilson, and the “child,” Orontondi Greyhat.
Festivities included tribal blessings led by Gerald Ironshield, Citizen of the Dakota Tribe, and remarks from Lee Blue Jacket, Citizen of the Shawnee Tribe. Traditional Bear, Buffalo and Eagle dancers also performed.
The mural is just the latest in a long line of iconic Levi’s styles appearing as art. In the 1970s, Levi’s Denim Art Contest highlighted how creatives used jeans as a medium for arts and crafts. More recently, Levi’s garments that Damien Hirst transformed with spin art were showcased at the Gagosian Museum in 2007.
Levi’s collaboration with Denim Tears was featured in The Costume Institute’s “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” exhibit in 2021.
This year, to mark the 120th anniversary of the death of founder Levi Strauss, The Levi Strauss Museum in Germany unveiled a new portrait of the co-creator of the modern jean made by denim artist Ian Berry. The portrait is made from collaged denim scraps.