Breathe Life Together, 2022

Acrylic and aerosolized paints

As a father and a long-time mentor for young people, Rob (he/him) seeks to elevate the powerful voices of the Black and Brown communities in Boston. Like the neighborhoods the artists grew up in, this mural centers a beautiful young Black girl rising out of the grass, naturally and with true belonging, facing the neighborhoods which root her community, surrounded by the inspiration and culture of generations that came before her. Whether you are here as a traveler or resident, she honors and asks you to join the conversation about the past, present, and future of our communities in Boston, reminding us what we can do togetHER.

Photos by G. Ortiz (1,3), Aram Boghosian (2)

  • Growing up in Roxbury during the Hip-Hop Golden Age, I saw the power of graffiti as a form of self-expression. Graffiti became a tool for me, and others in my community, to chronicle and immortalize our culture and history. For me, graffiti acts as a contemporary form of hieroglyphs, a way to document and pay homage to underserved, underheard communities in the city. My vision is to beautify the predominantly Black and Brown communities of Boston, this is a driving force behind my artistic practice and vision.

  • ​​​​Rob “ProBlak” Gibbs (he/him) is a visual artist and organizer who has transformed the cultural landscape of Boston through graffiti art since 1991. Throughout his work, ProBlak draws upon Black portraiture, Afrofuturism, and non-Western cosmologies to create a celebration of the intergenerational strength, collective imagination, and joy of Black life.

     

     

     

  • Growing up, Genaro (he/him) split his time between Roxbury and Roslindale. Traveling between his mom’s house in Roxbury and his dad’s in Orchard Park gave him an opportunity to absorb art and culture in different ways from tags to murals. His love of art and being a creative led him to attend MassArt after high school where he continued to learn how to express himself as a Latinx person, but more specifically his Taino roots and his connection to Native peoples. His art and murals express the beauty of his subjects and his connection to self and his community.

     

     

     

     

    “SOEM” (he/him) is a Boston-raised graffiti artist that learned his craft by way of his middle school and high school friends. Growing up in Boston and seeing traditional graffiti on his way to school and discussing who was up in the streets, he was taught the difference between being a fan admiring and actually being the individual producing work. By way of his mentors and crew mates that he looked up to, he found his voice and realized that he himself had a talent to express himself with the tools he’s grown to love: spray paint cans and markers. Having a limited supply of items is what forces him to create and make it count.

     

     

     

     

    Growing up in Boston, Wiso aka TakeOne (he/him) was exposed to many forms of creativity and expression, but the one that spoke the loudest was graffiti. For a Latinx teen growing up in the South End and Roxbury, graffiti art provided an activity and friends that helped keep him safe.

    Thanks to the influences and guidance of his crewmates in ALA (African Latino Alliance) and GN (Graff Nuts) crews, Wiso continued to grow his voice, skills, and artform through 25+ years of artistic practice. As a member of the Boston community, every opportunity to paint a mural is an opportunity to show young people, especially young people of color, that their voices will and do effect positive change in their communities.

  • The Greenway Public Art Program is exclusively funded through grants and private sources, including the generous support of The Barr Foundation, Goulston & Storrs, the Coca Cola Company, Robert and Doris Gordon, and the Boston Cultural Council/Reopen Creative Boston Fund administered by the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture.

Photos by G. Ortiz

Photos taken by G. Ortiz on 6/25/22 at the Breathe Life Together Block Party. 

Free and open to all, the Breathe Life Together Block Party featured a pop-up roller rink, free skate rentals, live music, performances, DJs, painting, and food trucks to celebrate and activate Rob “ProBlak” Gibbs’ mural Breathe Life Together. Together, we aimed to cultivate an accessible, collective public space of joy, care, sustenance, and belonging centering and supporting diverse communities, families, and youth from across Boston.