Rafael Rivera García (1929-2014)

Rafael Rivera García, Painter of Hyde Square Mural, Dies in Puerto Rico

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.


An Echo of Taino Culture Survives in Mural

Each weekday we post a random image from around the neighborhood. This is Kelly Alice's view of the mural that honors the Taino people. The mural, which has been restored since it was originally painted by Rafael Rivera García, is on the back of the Whole Foods building. The Tainos were the original inhabitants of what is today Puerto Rico. Long believed to have been completely wiped out by Christopher Columbus and the European diseases he and his crews brought to the Caribbean, vestiges of the Tainos' culture survive.