This post shares seven short stories from the short life of an immense mural and invites everyone to add their own stories of Seven Moon Junction before it vanishes from Dewey Square Park in September 2015. < Updates (visuals and text) about performance video in dark pink text are under “Beyond Seven” toward the bottom of this post. Latest update gives links to the video on Vimeo. >
I view Shinique Smith’s mural Seven Moon Junction as a celebration of connections. Here are seven samples of that celebration.
1. The accomplishment of a grand-scale mural like this depends on succinct successful connections among several key groups, each with their own essential skills and goals. Besides the mutual planning between the Greenway Conservancy’s arts administration and the artist, the mural progresses through the work of teams such as those creating Seven Moon Junction in September 2014:
- Overall Murals, specialists in hand-painting large-scale murals
- Arch Painting, a group that prepared and primed the wall
- United Rentals, a company that provided the large lifts operated by mural painters
Photos of process are copied from Shinique Smith Mural page of the Rose Kennedy Greenway website.
2. The word “junction” in the title itself connects the vastly scaled mural with a relatively smaller multi-textured, mixed media work called ‘Seven Moons’ created by the same artist a year earlier.
3. Seven Moons was on display as part of “Shinique Smith: BRIGHT MATTER” an exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston that was up from late August 2014 until early March 2015. The Greenway Wall mural presented an outdoor connection to the artist’s indoor show. The museum funded the artist’s costs, according to a story in the ARTery, September 2014.
4. Within Dewey Square Park, the mural makes connections to the park landscape and to architectural elements of the building’s wall. In her artist’s statement posted near the mural, Smith notes her intentions to relate to the spirit of the Greenway. Excerpts from her statement caption my photos below. For context, read her full statement about the mural.
5. Smith included some open white space for people to connect their own bodies and actions to the mural’s design and energetic qualities.
6. In her artworks, Smith chooses specific materials for their connections to people’s lives. Although the mural is a painting, it refers to tangible items collected for their personal meaning, including associations with significant cultures.
7. In the Greenway’s space for looking up at art, the mural is part of a path between the aerial sculpture by Janet Echelman and the overhead sheep by Kyu Seok Oh. In the Greenway’s time for the flow of public art, this mural is the third in a series of temporary public murals on the Greenway Wall, first by Os Gemeos and second by Matthew Ritchie. Fourth will be by Lawrence Weiner, coming in September. So August is a final opportunity to make your own connections with the presence of Seven Moon Junction in Dewey Square Park.
Beyond Seven…… I have missed many great connections evoked by this mural during nearly twelve moon cycles so far. If you have related notes or photos to share, please add them in the comments or contact me to incorporate them directly into this post. Smith’s mural will continue to connect us!
Band on Stage at Dewey Square Park Block Party August 28
UPDATE August 24,2015: Scenes from Kairos Dance Facebook page August 2015 from process for a new performance video piece “Gesture III: One Great Turning” commissioned by The Greenway and conceived by the artist “inspired by the composition of her mural design, astrology, alchemy, mythic love poetry and the energy of The Greenway intersection where the mural stands.” The video was collaboratively created by Shinique Smith, Gary Pennock, Vkara Phifer-Smith, and Kairos Dance.
The fascinating video was showcased at INTER/SECTIONS on August 21 at BSA Space in Boston.
Update Sept.12, 2015: Here is a link to the video (9.5 minutes) now on Vimeo.
“When I was a little girl I learned of the Sufi whirling dervishes, and in my innocence, I tried to dance like them. I would spin in the back yard in the hood in Baltimore until my mind was freed.”
This idea was the jumping off point for Smith to create a work with dancers that would evoke and expand the mural design and its details through groups of dancers moving with hypnotic resonance.
She made skirts by cutting and tying fabrics and created her own textiles from her paintings for the garments that the dancers wore. The parasol props and large swaths of silk fabric were hand painted by Smith and all were integral to the movement.
-excerpt from statement about the video posted on Shinique Smith’s Vimeo site
Connections will continue, even after the mural is gone from the wall!
Resource Links (can also be reached by clicking on red portions of text above)
Excerpts from site: “INTER/SECTIONS: Shinique Smith will showcase a new performance video piece conceived by the artist and commissioned by The Greenway. The epiphany of three performances driven by gestural collage, materials and concepts of her expressive calligraphic paintings and bundled sculptural works, Gesture III: One Great Turning was inspired by the composition of her mural design, astrology, alchemy, mythic love poetry and the energy of The Greenway intersection where the mural stands.”
“This event will feature a conversation between Smith and her most important collaborators in art and life – Light, video, sound and phenomena based installation artist, Gary Pennock; Author, executive coach, explorer and former talk radio host of ‘The Mind’s Eye,’ Vkara Phifer-Smith; and Writer, curator, assistant professor of the History of Art and Architecture at Brown University, Courtney J. Martin.”