A Look at This Week's Cover Artist
By Jyllian Roach
He has traveled the world to help those in need, built charter schools, donated his time to local art projects and works in youth outreach.
These things are unsurprising to those who know a bit about Eaglin’s life growing up. His mother is a painter, and nearly every other relative of his is an artist or musician of some stripe. More than that, though, the Eaglin clan navigated their lives by remembering a single word: Kiongozi.
“We’re kiongozis. Kiongozi is Swahili for a leader-teacher-healer,” Eaglin said. “We’re all teachers or in health care or working toward something that helps others.”
Eaglin cannot remember a time in his childhood when he wasn’t surrounded by art, music and education. As a child, he played piano and hand drums, and by the ninth grade he was studying at Howard University. It was then that he began to merge his art with the lessons he learned in the engineering program and moved into graphic design – though it certainly didn’t end there.
“Every year I try to find a new medium and chuck my old ones,” he said.
After high school, Eaglin moved from his childhood home in the Washington, D.C. area to finish his engineering degree at UNM. However, his wanderlust didn’t allow him to stay here for long.
Soon, the recent graduate made his way to Los Angeles, where he began building charter schools with Green Dot Public Schools. Within a decade and a half, they would open 21 schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
“It’s been a beautiful process of understanding how to take an idea and challenge some of our world’s hardest (problems) of public education, how we take knowledge from one generation to another,” he said.
As the charter schools began to take off, Eaglin felt again the itch to travel and to make the world a better place. Beach clean-ups, food drives or helping fledgling artists, Eaglin made his way to more countries that he could recall – Puerto Rico, Thailand, Malaysia, The Philippines, Costa Rica and Mexico among them – and found likeminded creatives to work with.
“I’ve been finding beautiful people all over this planet to share with, to create with,” he said.
Now Eaglin spends his time as the director of development for Warehouse 508, a creative arts nonprofit that allows children to explore their world through art. One of his current projects is a citywide mural project, in which he hopes other artists will join.
“I don’t differentiate being an artist as any different medium, it’s all one living organism,” he said. “How you develop community is an art.”
To learn more about Eaglin and his art, visit worldwideunderground.com.
Jyllian Roach is the arts and entertainment editor for the ABQ Free Press Weekly. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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