An artist whose Hyde Square mural became a landmark has died at 85.
Rafael “Sonny” Rivera García, died Friday in Puerto Rico, according to his son, Boricua Rivera. In 1984, the elder Rivera painted a mural on Perkins Street that honors the Taino culture of what is today Puerto Rico.
The mural has since been restored twice and come to be a symbol of Jamaica Plain in general and Hyde-Jackson squares in particular.
Sonny Rivera’s murals have adorned public spaces in Miami; San Juan and Guanica, Puerto Rico; and New York City. He was an art professor and author of a manifesto called “Art for the People.”
Here’s a recent view of the Taino mural on Perkins Street, behind Whole Foods:
And here are two images provided by Boricua Rivera of his father: