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'The Joy of Growing' by Mattaya Fitts

We commissioned artist Mattaya Fitts to create an exterior mural at the Peabody/Englewood Apartments in Dorchester.

This project was installed in November 2022.

Project Details

Project Context

The City of Boston commissioned Mattaya Fitts to create this mural as part of the third round of the Transformative Public Art Program. The Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture allocated more than $1 million toward murals at 10 sites across nine neighborhoods as part of the program. The total budget for this project was $50,000. The mural is located at the Peabody/Englewood Apartments (1875 Dorchester Avenue) in Dorchester. On this project, Mattaya collaborated with the Boston Housing Authority.

Transformative public art program

The Site

Peabody/Englewood is a Boston Housing Authority (BHA) community. It offers a variety of living arrangements for low- and moderate-income elders and people with disabilities. Peabody Englewood offers approximately 103 apartments in a six-story building. This modern building was built in the early 1980s and is located in Peabody Square in Dorchester near many shops and services.

The Artwork

Mattaya conducted an engagement session for the residents of the Peabody/Englewood Apartments where they participated in the concept development phase of her mural design. The mural, entitled “The Joy of Growing”, is centered around themes of personal transformation, self-care, and the relationship between ourselves and nature. Mattaya's goal is to create a visual that reminds us to honor and love ourselves in all stages of our life journey.

Depicted in the mural is a woman dressed in yellow stands in Tree Pose, or Vrksasana. The use of Tree Pose here symbolizes balance, movement, and self-awareness. It draws inspiration from the trees that surround the wall at the project site. The woman's hair is composed of milkweed. The mural also incorporates monarch and peacock butterflies and a monarch caterpillar. A heart- shaped balloon is tied around the woman's arm as a gesture of love to herself, the feeding caterpillar, and her community. Lastly, the background pattern is a visual cue that represents flow, energy, and a state of chrysalis. The color palette used in this artwork is intended to evoke calmness, softness, and warmth.

The Joy of Growing mural by Mattaya Fitts
Photo of 'The Joy of Growing' mural by Mattaya Fitts, courtesy of the artist.

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