‘Seven Moons’
Shinique Smith (American, 1971)
Private Collection, Courtesy David Castillo Gallery
Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

On Monday September 8, Shinique Smith and her team of able-minded artists began painting the Dewey Square mural, the third such installment to adorn the imposing wall on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. The 70-by-76 foot painting is a variation of Smith’s piece Seven Moons, which you can view on display now at a Museum of Fine Arts exhibit, but also draws on inspiration from other unlikely places.

This adaptation of Smith’s work is called similarly named “Seven Moons Junction” and incorporates the circular, lunar patterns of Seven Moons – which Smith said when coupled with the shape of the wall “felt as if they belonged together” – along with a shift in scale and enriched textures.

“I’ve titled this work, Seven Moon Junction in reference to the intersection where the mural residents, the merging of people and the joining of art and life,” said Smith in a statement to the Greenway Conservancy. “The field of view, Dewey Square Park is part of the mural.”

Smith also divulged how she conceived the idea of “Seven Moon Junction” after being commissioned by the Conservancy to decorate Dewey. Many of her artworks are often consolidations of nostalgic aspects of her life. From childhood clothing patterns and pop culture icons to street art tagging symbols and Japanese calligraphy, Smith’s art is both boundless and sentimental.

Such is the case with “Seven Moon Junction.”

“This particular work draws inspiration from various sources such as alchemy, astrology, music and the mythology and art of indigenous cultures,” continued Smith. “By taking a small aspect of this existing work and enlarging it to the scale of 70 feet, this microcosm of materials is seen and experienced from a new perspective, becoming a distinct new presentation.”

Smith is collaborating with a team artists and designers to hopefully finish the mural by September 23. Using 22 gallons of paint and innovative techniques for emblazoning the wall, Smith and company will help celebrate their artistic feat at a party hosted by the Conservancy upon completion. A free reception featuring live music by Boston’s own Debo Band, displays interactive art, and, of course, food and drink will be available to all on the 23rd from 4p.m. to 6 p.m.

Perhaps more than commemorating the finished product, Smith will be lauding the impact public art has on open urban spaces.

“I see this work as a mural that extends beyond the wall, as it attunes to the space in which it sits, radiating energy outward to the rest of the city and its occupants,” she added. “Inspired by the flow of the environment, I will orchestrate a performance of music, art and dance on the green space (in late Spring 2015) that is an extension of the mural inspired by the spiras and color in the design.”