Take the Red Line train to South Station, exit the terminal, walk a few blocks down the street until you see a huge circular building that slightly reminds you of the White House. The high pillars, double doors, and breath taking clock is stunning, but move on because that’s not what you’re looking for. Keep walking down the block until you see a huge almost rectangular building with a dome shaped top. It’s white with abstract hints of gray. You’re here. You’re at Dewey Square. Dewey Square is a small plot of land that stands out among the towering skyscrapers. There’s a gravel walkway parallel to a children’s garden and an open space for dogs to play fetch in. At the end of the walkway is a huge mural by artist Matthew Ritchie called “Remanence: Salt and Light (Part II).”
It’s a beautiful piece and worlds above anything I could do myself, but it doesn’t stand out to me. At least not compared to what is hidden under it. “Os Gemeos” by Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo, local graffiti artists, was commissioned in July 2012. It depicts a painting of Brazilian man scrunched up into an almost fetal position peering out into downtown crossing. He wears a red turban, green patterned shirt, and blue checkered pants to compliment his yellow skin tone.
It was almost a year later when locals started complaining about the mural, saying the man resembled a terrorist. Matthew Ritchie was quickly assigned to hide it from public eye forever and paint over it.
Like I said, “Remanence: Salt and Light (Part II)” is beautiful in its own way. It has a whimsical dreamy feel to it, like you’re floating away as you look at it. It’s a wonderful piece that is in a less than wonderful place. In my opinion, “Remanence: Salt and Light (Part II)” belongs somewhere where it will be more appreciated, such as near an ocean or a rural field.
What makes Dewey Place such an appropriate place for “Os Gemeos” is its location in comparison to its surroundings. The buildings around Dewey Square are silver, brown, and gray. “Os Gemeos” had a colorful disposition that was refreshing to look at in comparison to these neutral colors. Not to mention the shape of the building only compliments the piece as the curve of the canvas was the curve of the man’s head. “Remanence: Salt and Light (Part II)” only conforms to the buildings and blends in and doesn’t use its space wisely.
When I first laid eyes on the new mural I felt like it was wonderfully painted, but I admit that it’s obvious it’s there to cover something up. It feels less thought out and more of a requirement brought upon the artist by the city. And on a personal note, as the winter months quickly engulf the city I would rather see a warm and vibrant piece.