Client: Providence Preservation Society
Location: Providence, RI, United States
Completion date: 2019
The Providence River Mural “ 2019” by Native American Wampanoag Artist, Deborah Spears Moorehead is a series of four canvas panels that are each 48” by 60″. ”The medium is acrylic paint. The images depict four centuries of history. It was commissioned by the Providence Preservation Society (PPS) as part of the Sites and Stories Explored Project. PPS put out a request for proposals for a work of art that would address the threat of a corporate builder developing on a piece of land referred to as Parcel 1A. Parcel 1A’s location is on the banks of the Providence River. Developing this site would restrict view and public access and would also have a negative effect on the well being of the land and river. Parcel 1A has enormous historic significance in relationship to the Native American trade routes and waterways established for tens of thousands of years before European contact. The Indigenous People,the river and the land remembers if we continue her stories. The story of the founding the thirteen original colonies, the state of Rhode Island and the beginnings of United States are embedded in the land of Parcel 1A. . Historic figures such as Canaunicus, Miatonomy, Roger Williams, Benedict Arnold as well as many others made their home on Parcel1A.
The goal of my mural project was to use my art as a push back to any commercial development of Parcel 1A. The cultural sustainability of the river was one of my biggest concerns as a Native American Traditional Cultural Bearer and Environmental Knowledge Keeper. I am a Water Protector. Another goal through aesthetically depicting four centuries was to establish what harmed ( harms) the environment, and what will improved it, and then ultimately solutions offered for a full recovery. “As a steward of my homeland, it is my innate duty to protect land, air and water for the children to come for the next seven generations.
Beginning with Native American homeland and culture, surviving the era of war and colonization, continuing through industrialization, and journeying through maritime committees depicting an influx of multiple ethnicities, the four panels conclude with contemporary uses and solutions of recovery.
.I collaborated with Director, Brent Runyon of the Providence Preservation Society and Artist Holly Ewald. Brent also arranged a meeting that involved experts in their fields in relationship with what research I needed to accurately portray my vision. I could ask them any question regarding my projects's subject matter.
As of today the land at Parcel 1 A is not developed, and there is total public access. The land and river's environment has been granted a time to recover from centuries of abuse and many environmentalist groups and movements are actively working on its’ vitality into the future. . The Providence River Mural by Deborah Spears Moorehead is on exhibit from January 20,2021, through March15,2021 at Providence City Hall. You can read about the mural in Providence Monthly Magazine January issue. As of today the land at Parcel 1 A is not developed, and there is total public access. The land and river's environment has been granted a time to recover from centuries of abuse and many environmentalist groups and movements are actively working on its’ vitality into the future. I am honored that my Art is utilized in the recovery of Parcel1A .