Philadelphia artist Odili Odita’s Pavilion mural is a ‘kaleidoscope landscape’

When designing the wall mural that spans two floors of Penn Medicine’s new Pavilion, Philadelphia-based artist Odili Donald Odita aimed to transport viewers from the insides of a hospital—where they may be going through a stressful time—to a vivid, outdoor scene.

Odili Odita stands in front of his mural in the Penn Medicine Pavilion.
Philadelphia-based artist Odili Donald Odita aimed to transport viewers to a colorful, outdoor scene. (Image: Penn Medicine News)

“I wanted to create an exterior space within an interior—to give the idea of being portaled to the outside,” Odita says of the mural titled “Field and Sky.”

The abstract painter achieved this vision, not by painting literal images of mountains, birds, and sunsets, but instead through the creation of a kaleidoscope of brightly-colored geometric shapes, which mirror the complexity of the world around us, according to Odita. “Each shape creates an individual landscape,” he says.

Born in Nigeria and raised in the American Midwest, Odita’s art regularly combines aspects of Western modernity with African culture. He has lived in Philadelphia since 2006 and is a professor at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art and Architecture. A wall mural by Odita is also on display in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where it was originally part of the “New Grit: Art and Philly Now” exhibit that featured 25 of the city’s key creators this past summer.

“Field and Sky” welcomes visitors who enter on the lobby floor of the Pavilion, along with the striking art installation designed by renowned artist and designer Maya Lin. Both works embody the health system’s mission to create a calming and healing environment for Pavilion patients and visitors through art.

Read more at Penn Medicine News.