The seventh and final mural painted by artist Felipe Ortiz that is part of a new public art initiative known as ‘Sea Walls Boston’ was completed and dedicated last Tuesday on Bremen Street.
Presented by Linda Cabot, the local public art group HarborArts is collaborating with the international nonprofit PangeaSeed Foundation to bring their globally renowned public art program to Boston. The initiative, known as Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans will install up to 15 public murals throughout East Boston in 2020.
Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans is part of global initiatives that has produced over 400 murals in 16 countries calling attention to climate change from New Zealand to Mexico to Indonesia to the Caribbean.
This was the first time Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans has come to the Northeast and Eastie is home to “Sea Walls Boston”. The art initiative is going to be part of a bigger pilot project that will involve more artists and more murals all in Eastie in the near future.
Prior to Ortiz’s mural, six other murals were painted around Eastie at the Boston Harbor Shipyard and Marina on Marginal Street and the Mary Ellen Welch Greenway.
The last mural titled “the Heart of the Ocean” was created by Ortiz, a local Columbian-American artist, at the Bremen Park Condominiums located at 260 Bremen St.
Ortiz has become an international presence in the global art scene as a sensational painter and muralist as well as the founder and organizer of “Fresco Exchange,” a reciprocating artist interspersion effort between Latin America and the US.
According to Ortiz, the theme of the aquatic mural centers on warming seas and ocean acidification, two pressing issues facing the Gulf of Maine. The Gulf of Maine is the fastest warming body of water in the United States, which has many harmful consequences for the local ecosystem, and causes cold water marine species in the US to migrate to colder waters. For economies like ours, which depend on fish and shellfish as a food source, this leads to a serious impact on humans as well. Ocean acidification has devastating implications for the health of calcifying organisms such as oysters, clams, sea urchins, shallow water corals, deep sea corals, and calcareous plankton. Ortiz said this mural seeks to represent how our oceans are all connected to each other and to us.
Sharpe Venture Group, owned and operated by Bostonian brothers David Lank and Evan Lank, sponsored Ortiz’s mural for Sea Walls Boston. After the Lank Brothers reached out to Sea Walls project director Matthew Pollock in September with an interest in participating in the initiative and a blank wall, the Sea Walls Boston team organized the 7th mural to help continue the momentum of the Sea Walls Boston public art initiative.
“Our goal is to make residents, passersby, neighbors and the community as a whole smile,” says Lank.
The bronze plaque Sharpe has installed next to the mural reads: “This mural is dedicated with love to the people of East Boston and the precious waters we steward by Sharpe Venture Group, November 2020.”