MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — A new work of art is taking shape in Middletown.

It’s a street mural with a modern feel, but it honors the history of a neighborhood that dates back more than 200 years.

Middletown’s Anti-Racism Task Force commissioned a mural for the historic Beman Triangle, making it the biggest project artist Enox Shabazz has ever done.

“This right here is my paintbrush,” Shabazz said, holding up a pole with a paint roller on the end. “My whole body became the paintbrush. Just moving around, moving around. It’s really tough, it’s really tough, but we got it.”

He came up with a sketch of roses, which signify growth, in the shape of triangles, which stands for the Bemon triangle. With help from the Rise Up artists’ collective, he is using gallons of traffic-grade paint to make that sketch come to life at the intersection of Cross and Vine Streets, right on the edge of the Wesleyan University campus.

The intersection is named after the Beman family. The Wesleyan University website talks about Ceasar Beman, an enslaved man who won his freedom by fighting in the Revolutionary War in the place of his enslaver. His family then settled in this part of Middletown, founding a church, and becoming the foundation of Middletown’s Black community.

“They built it and they made it so some of the freed slaves could come,” Shabazz said. “They had tunnels under the ground. There’s so much history behind this place.”

The mural includes a freedom lantern. It’s a symbol of the underground railroad, which the Beman family is said to have supported. There is also a headstone representing ancestors. Shabazz said he’s been thinking about and drawing his own ancestors a lot lately.

“I almost feel like they’re the ones who got me this job, to tell you the truth,” Shabazz said. “They’re like coming down, putting the energy out there so that I can even be chosen for this big assignment.”

The hope is there are more assignments to come, with more artwork nearby directing people the mural.