DENVER (KDVR) — Artists are shining a light on the lives of young murder victims, including 17-year-old Mya Pena.
Pena was the victim of a domestic violence murder-suicide in January of this year.
She is now the subject of two murals, one at 21st and Lawrence, the other at 18th and Glenarm.
The murals are a source of comfort for Mya’s mom and sister.
“It’s been a journey for us to kind of get through this,” Audra Pena, Mya’s mother said,
“For me it’s cool because my sister wanted to be an artist, so this is the coolest way to honor her,” Mya’s sister, Alexis said.
Thomas Evans, also known as Detour, spent three days on his mural of Mya.
“The building is actually going to be demolished in a couple weeks, we just wanted to make it even if it’s up just a day, we had an opportunity to showcase and spotlight individuals like Mya,” Evans said.
Austin Zucchini-Fowler painted a more permanent mural for Mya, in the area where she used to feed the homeless.
“I hope it can bring change, but mostly happiness and beauty,” Zucchini-Fowler said.
Friends and family members were able to watch the work in progress. Audra said, “Our initial reaction was just tears. Tears of course.”
They say these murals capture Mya’s true spirit.
“It looks just like my sister. I seriously just want to go up and kiss it, reminds me so much of her. Makes me miss her all the more,” Alexis said.
They hope it makes people ask questions, and they hope it raises awareness about domestic violence and mental health.
“It will show our beautiful Mya off. And I think she would think it was so cool. She always said she would be famous and on billboards so this is kind of like that,” Alexis said.
“I was in awe of the fact it was going to be so big cuz i know her and she would be totally embarrassed and annoyed with her mom that i made her be this big downtown. It’s her,” Audra added.
They are also starting a foundation called “Mya’s World” to help victims of domestic violence. They also want to provide support for young people who are struggling with mental health.