Rise / Gateway to Boston
This work consists of two 19-foot tall statues located on Blue Hill Avenue, suggesting an archway that welcomes motorists and pedestrians into Mattapan Square. Local artists, former Mattapan residents, and cousins Fern Cunningham and Karen Eutemey each created one of the two sculptural groups. Cunningham’s contribution celebrates the diverse history of Mattapan, which has been home to many different ethnic populations. A Native American figure holding a fish represents the Mattahunt tribe, which inhabited the area 400 years ago. Other images include a black Civil War soldier from Massachusetts’ 54th Regiment, which set up camp in the area, and Jewish, German, and Irish immigrants, who settled here in the first half of the twentieth century. Atop the sculpture, a young family illustrates Mattpan’s current population, consisting largely of African-Americans and Caribbean immigrants.
Across the way, Eutemy's more abstract piece evokes a positive future, illustrated through the symbol of a rising sun. The mask-like faces below belong to no clearly defined racial or ethnic group. Explaining the significance of their work, Cunningham and Eutemy borrowed the words of Dr. Martin Luther King: “Live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” Other works by Cunningham, including a tribute to Harriet Tubman, can be found throughout the city of Boston.