​​​​The Liberian Mural is a  magnificent example of Liberian artistry not only because of its beauty and grandeur but it is even more special as many works of art were lost during the long Liberian civil War. The owner: Maria King Wallace, an entrepreneur and business woman, spent 28 years in West Africa, ten of them in Liberia and has collected many exceptional pieces of African art. 

As we look at the evolving story, on the panels of The Liberian Mural, we note that the third panel depicts freed American slaves petitioning an African chief for land to settle. This is a particularly heartbreaking scene since the petitioners were forced to leave the United States by slave owners who considered “freed slaves” a disruptive element in the society and wanted them removed from American soil. Arrangements were made through members of the American Colonization Society to “return the freed slaves to their country of origin” however these “freed slaves” were born in the United States and were not being returned to the places in Africa their ancestors came from. Commodore Perry made arrangements with chiefs, in what is today the Republic of Liberia, in West Africa, to accept the freed slaves however theirs was a life of misery, hardship, illness and murder at the hands of tribes who resented their presence and few survived the resettlement.

The Liberian Mural is a panel by panel reminder of the forced journey made by our ancestors, at first, captured and enslaved, taken to work for generations in the sugar plantations in the Caribbean and in the cotton fields and households in the United States, then expelled from the only country they had known and dumped, without much thought, on a randomly selected place in Africa. 

Maria Elena King Wallace

descending into the holds of ships to verify the cargo as well as scaling ships at outer anchorage to persuade vessel captains to pick up cargo intended to European and Asian destinations.

​​Over 28 years, Maria Elena resided in 5 African countries; Liberia, Tanzania, Guine Bissau, Ghana and Benin and travelled in 16 countries. She represented and helped to advise and establish foreign companies such as Haramabee International Trading, New York, for whom she set up and managed a chain of American style stores in Liberia, HIT Stores, and the commodity trading company, Sterling Merit, UK. She operated her own businesses; among them Pandora Restaurant and Sports Shop in Liberia’s banking center and SALIB in Benin, a company that imported used clothing from the U.S. for processing and rebaling in her company’s warehouse and sold to Nigerian clients.

​Maria Elena obtained a contract from the Port of Cotonou, Benin to collect and rid the port of all the truck and equipment wrecks, blocking the free flow of traffic in the port. The challenging work was achieved over a three-month period and completed in time for the visiting President of Portugal’s tour of the port.

​Maria Elena lent her publishing skills, as a volunteer, on newspaper marketing strategies to Liberia’s The Observer and Benin’s Les Echos du Jour and as an interpreter to the President of Benin for the opening ceremony of the Gospel and Roots Festival. Before going to Liberia, Ms. King was a picture editor for Grolier Publishing Company, a writer-editor for the Federal EPA, Public Affairs Office and subsequently for the US Department of Interior, Gateway National Recreation Area, New York and New Jersey. Born in San Jose, Costa Rica and growing up in New York enabled Maria Elena to become fluent in English while retaining her native Spanish.

Contact Us: info@theliberianmural.com

Phone: 1 347 451 6838

Maria Elena King contributes the unique perspective of an American woman, who alone, travelled to remote rural farms in Africa, to acquire agricultural commodities such as cashew nuts to be exported by the ship load. In the process she learned French and Portuguese, to help her manage all the necessary government, banking, port and end buyer requirements for the export of commodities  worth millions of dollars, including 

Contact Us: info@theliberianmural.com

Phone: 1 347 451 6838

The Liberian Mural

Maria Elena King Wallance