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Sobek mural celebrates Carter Post, indigenous history

Celina Colby
Celina Colby is an arts and travel reporter with a fondness for Russian novels.... VIEW BIO
Sobek mural celebrates Carter Post, indigenous history
Mayor Kim Janey attends a ribbon cutting ceremony to unveil two murals by Jeremy Sobek Harrison at the William E Carter American Legion Post 16 in Mattapan. PHOTO: ISABEL LEON, MAYOR’S OFFICE

A mural by local artist Jeremy ‘Sobek’ Harrison has sprouted at 1531 Blue Hill Avenue, thanks to a partnership between the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) and the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture. Painted in vibrant reds, pinks and yellows, the mural draws eyes from all corners of Blue Hill Avenue.

One side of the Jeremy ‘Sobek’ Harrison mural at 1531 Blue Hill Avenue.

The two-fold mural adorns the sides of William E. Carter American Legion Post 16 in celebration of its 100th anniversary. The Carter Post is the first African American chartered post in Massachusetts, created by members of the 372nd infantry. Against one side, on a bright background, an elder places his dog tags around a young girl’s neck, a Mattapan trolley chugs towards its destination and bursts of brightly colored flora jump off the wall. A watchful crow frames both sides of the mural, overlooking the scene and the neighborhood. Against another wall, a painted American flag ripples softly against the brick of the building.

“I wanted to depict a sense of nature and community love in representation of the Mattahunt tribe, as well as paying respects to those who gave their life, as well as those still fighting for a better world,” says Sobek, who has Native American ancestry. The Mattapan artist works frequently in the graffiti medium. Here he pays homage to the Mattahunt tribe, who originally inhabited Mattapan, as well as the veterans connected with Carter Post. The piece also represents the passing of the civic duty on to the next generation. The multilayered homage to the neighborhood’s history is both beautiful and powerful.

The mural project was supported by a $15,000 grant from the BPDA, part of the agency’s larger $75,000 investment in public art throughout Mattapan. It took the force of three branches —the city, the Carter Post and the artist — to get the extensive vision executed. What was originally planned as a one-wall mural now wraps the building in striking color. The community will see more of Sobek’s work nearby soon; he’s currently in the design phase for a commission at the Roxbury branch of the Boston Public Library.

For Sobek, the mural is a way to give back to the neighborhood that gave so much to him. Now his vibrant work can inspire the next generation, perpetuating the cycle of a community sharing knowledge and caring for each other.

“Honored and blessed for the opportunity to give back in a creative way to the neighborhood that raised me,” Sobek notes on Instagram. “Mattapan gave birth to the artist I am today and I never stop praising my roots.”