Arts & Culture

New Greenway Public Art Focuses on Global Connections, Cross-Cultural Exchanges

The Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy has announced two new public art installations coming to the Greenway—one by Mexican-American master folk artist Catalina Delgado-Trunk and one by renowned British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare.

Delgado-Trunk’s work Global Connections: Mesoamerican Myths, the Domestication of Nourishment, and its Distribution, displayed on The Greenway’s “Light Blades,” illustrates Mesoamerican mythology, histories of food trade, and the foundational elements of all our lives.

Catalina Delgado-Trunk’s Global Connections. Photo courtesy of the Greenway Conservancy.

Delgado-Trunk’s intricate papel picado (cut paper) has been photographed, enlarged to a monumental scale, printed onto vinyl, and affixed to eight of the 30’–tall columns illuminated by color-changing lights, situated near the Rings Fountain at Milk Street. Her artwork focuses on our interconnectedness through themes of food, culture, and immigration.

Delgado-Trunk says, “The axis of the Mesoamerican belief system was that each one of us has the responsibility to balance the scale of opposites in accordance with the balance of the universe. […] The scale is way out of balance during these dark days of ethnic, social, political, economic, and environmental inequality and abuse which we have brought upon ourselves. I hope that, as the visitors to the park view the Light Blades, they will reflect on the message that we are attempting to convey. It takes love, respect, and a lot of effort to create a better world with justice and equality for all, peace, respect for one another, and wise oversight of our environment.”

Catalina Delgado-Trunk’s Global Connections. Photo courtesy of the Greenway Conservancy.

The second new public artwork is British Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare’s Wind Sculpture (SG) V, which will be exhibited later this month in a contemplative garden on The Greenway, just north of Dewey Square.

The 22’–tall sculpture features a new variation of Shonibare’s trademark batik that appears to harness the wind and freeze it in a moment of time. Batik, which we now regard as traditional African cloth, is based on Indonesian batik fabric first brought to Africa by Dutch traders in the 1800s.

Throughout Shonibare’s work, the material serves as a metaphor for our contemporary cultures which, like the “African” batik, are the result of centuries of cross-cultural exchange. By referencing both this hybrid fabric and the powerful yet invisible nature of wind, the work suggests that identity is always a richly layered and dynamic set of relationships, while evoking a sense of freedom, possibility, and optimism.

“The commissioned artists engage with a globalized world and its complexities,” said Lucas Cowan, Curator and Director of Public Art for the Greenway Conservancy. “These artworks help us think about issues of cultural identity, immigration, and interconnectedness.”

The Conservancy went on to say, “As our nation grapples with issues surrounding systematic racism, understanding and sharing the experiences and histories people of color carry are critical. We are proud to use our platform of public art in Boston to highlight these artists and their work at a time when their vision is needed more than ever.”

If you are safely able to visit The Greenway, The Conservancy reminds everyone to practice appropriate physical distancing and to wear a face covering. Both artworks will be on display for one year. Learn more at www.rosekennedygreenway.org.

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