A mural originally made in 1984 has been restored by the Mayor’s Mural Crew throughout August. The Taino Mural was created by Rafael Rivera Garcia, a Puerto Rican university professor and artist, outside of what is now the Whole Foods Market.
“In addition to creating new pieces of art, the Mayor’s Mural Crew plays an important role in maintaining and preserving art that already exists in Boston’s neighborhoods,” said Mayor Martin Walsh via a press release. “This work is invaluable to helping us ensure that art is present in every neighborhood, contributing to the overall vitality of the city.”
The mural features mythic figures and tribal practices of the Taino, who are people indigenous to the Caribbean. This mural features the Huraca’n, translated as “center of the storm”—a word later adopted by the Spaniards to describe tropical cyclones. The Huraca’n trio is made up of the angry wind goddess Guabancex and her two helpers, the gods Guatauba and Coatrisque, who stir up the lightning and the water. The mural has suffered water damage and fading throughout the years, leading to several restorations.
The Mayor’s Mural Crew also created a new mural on the front of the store. In exchange for the restoration work Whole Foods made a $15,000 donation to the Mayor’s Mural Crew. That donation will also fund future mural crew projects in the city.
“The Taino Mural is an important part of the history of the neighborhood Whole Foods Market serves in Jamaica Plain, and we are committed to its preservation,” said Laura Derba, president of Whole Foods Market’s North Atlantic region, via press release. “We are proud to be working again with the talented young artists in the Mayor’s Mural Crew to not only ensure the longevity of the Taino Mural, but also to create a new piece of art on the front of our store for the neighborhood to enjoy for years to come. We are proud that our store will serve as a canvas to showcase the incredible artistic talent in our community.”
The Mayor’s Mural Crew, which is led by Jamaica Plain’s Heidi Schork, has given young Bostonian artists apprenticeships alongside professional mural painters to conceptualize, design and paint murals throughout Boston every summer. Hundreds of youth have been given the opportunity to be active participants in the creation of public art through the years. The Mayor’s Mural Crew is a collaboration by the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture and the Engagement and Employment Division of the Boston Centers for Youth and Families.