Garden for Boston: Raven Reshapes Boston

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Elizabeth James-Perry Raven Reshapes Boston

Elizabeth James-Perry (Aquinnah Wampanoag) planting corn for “Raven Reshapes Boston.” Photo: Tess Lukey (Aquinnah Wampanoag).

Three-part discussion series to accompany two outdoor art interventions

Boston, MA – From May to September, the MFA Boston is presenting Garden for Boston, two outdoor installations on the green spaces of the museum’s main entrance by Roxbury-based artist Ekua Holmes and artist/marine biologist Elizabeth James-Perry (Aquinnah Wampanoag).

In Raven Reshapes Boston: A Native Corn Garden at the MFA, James-Perry will use Indigenous planting techniques to transform the grass around the Cyrus Dallin sculpture, which represents an invented Native man, into a field of corn and other plants surrounded by shells.

“It has to do with being a woman from a matriarchal society, where women have responsibility for deciding how land is used and where, and I was working with tribal leadership to defend tribal sovereignty as well,” James-Perry says about Raven Reshapes Boston. “It was a lot.”

Holmes will plant 3,000 sunflowers in raised beds with Radiant Community, related to Roxbury Sunflower Project, her ongoing initiative to beautify the city and particularly Roxbury. We hope that their installations will be the first two of many to intervene in the museum’s facade.

MFA colleagues and community members organized three programs culminating in a conversation between the artists on June 22. This series will recognize Boston as a place of Native and Black histories and lived experiences through the expertise of artists, scholars, and thought leaders.

Boston MFA

MFA Boston entrance, prior to set up for Garden for Boston at left. Photo: Merriweather (CC BY-SA 4.0).


Before Boston: Black and Native Histories of Place

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May 18 @ 5:30 pm Eastern Time | Zoom link
With Elizabeth Solomon, Dr. Jean O’Brien (White Earth Ojibwe descent), and Dr. Kerri Greenidge


Community Crossroads: Black and Native Experiences in Boston

Indigenous Peoples Day
June 1 @ 5:00 pm Eastern Time | Zoom link
With Dr. Tiffany Lethabo King, Professor Mwalim Peters (Mashpee Wampanoag), and Mary McNeil (Mashpee Wampanoag)


Planting Together: Conversation with Ekua Holmes and
Elizabeth James-Perry

Elizabeth James-Perry and Ekua Holmes
June 22 @ 5:00 – 6:00 pm Eastern Time | Zoom link
The two Garden for Boston artists in dialogue


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