By Lauren Nutall
A new mural at Disneyland is bringing Princess Tiana to life.
Artist Malaika Favorite is creating the painting as part of the company’s upcoming attraction, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, which is slated to open at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort in 2024, according to the Disney Parks Blog. A Louisiana native, Favorite channels the state’s vibrant culture for the piece, drawing inspiration from the colorful art that decorates the streets and New Orleans’ rich history. The collage will reference a number of scenes from the movie, including Tiana’s culinary journey and some of the film’s other beloved characters, such as Louis, the trumpet-playing alligator that Tiana befriends.
Favorite graduated from Louisiana State University, where she earned her BA and MFA degrees in 1971 and 1973, respectively, according to Art Span. She is a renowned painter who is best known for her use of oil, acrylic, and watercolors and her empowering portrayal of Black American heritage. Favorite has received numerous awards and grants over the course of her career, including the 2005 Louisiana Literature Prize for Poetry. Her work has been featured in several books, such as Art: African American by Samella Lewis, Black Art in Louisiana by Bernardine B. Proctor and the St. James Guide to Black Artists edited by Thomas Riggs. Favorite’s paintings can also appeared in museums throughout Louisiana, including Baton Rouge Gallery, Alexandria Museum of Art, and many more.
Carmen Smith, the park’s senior vice president of creative development, discussed selecting Favorite to complete this painting with Click Orlando.
“When we were exploring how to introduce guests to the story of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure as they prepared to embark on the attraction, maintaining the authenticity of Princess Tiana’s experience as a young Black woman striving to achieve her dream in the soulful backdrop of New Orleans was one of our highest priorities,” she said, “It only makes sense that an extensive search for an artist who could bring our vision to life brought us to Malaika’s doorstep.”
Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is replacing the popular Splash Mountain, which permanently closed in May 2023, according to The Los Angeles Times. The attraction, which had been at the resort since 1989, quickly became a fixture at both Disneyland and Disney World. However, it has now been retired in favor of this newer project.