Sunday, August 24, 2008

History through art

The large mural charting the history of immigrants in East Boston is 10 years old in October, and the Globe has a story today about artist Chris Tauson and how the painting came to be.

The mural, which covers more than 3,000 square feet, is on an East Boston Neighborhood Health Center building that faces a small parking lot on Gove Street. It tells the story of nine different immigrant groups that have lived in the community, starting with Native Americans.

Tauson, who has lived in Eastie for 22 years, has also painted some other murals in the community.

1 comment:

Eastie Girl said...

Although Mr. Tauson's painting is an undeniable work of art and an impressive representation of SOME of the diverse ethnic make-up of East Boston's migrant communities of yesterday and today, it is not quite wholly representative.

I am no history buff so I can only speak for missing community sedgment that I, and several family members noticed; the Portuguese. Although often confused for or lumped in with our Brazilian cousins, the Portuguese were a large part of East Boston's industrial and maritime workforce.

There was a time when the Portuguese community in East Boston was so large, that they built and supported the now condo-ized St. John's Church and several annual feasts.

I'm surprised to think that with all of the research that was conducted in preparation for the mural design, that none of this detail was unearthed. I hate to be cynical and think that the folks involved assumed that Portuguese was the same as or 'close enough' to Brazilian and summarily dismissed the prospect of including a representation of Portuguese immigrants in the mural.

As of late, as I contemplate the measures it would take to preserve the culture of my grandparents and father who arrived in the U.S. in the 1940's, I have given a lot of thought of what it would take to 'get at' the history of Portuguese immigrants in East Boston.

I'd love some tips on how to gain access to migratory and other records that document the lives of Portuguese in East Boston.

I'd also love to see portrayals of Portuguese community included in future murals.