“Untitled, 2018” by Ruben Ubiera

Halaina LeBlanc / Journal Staff

HUBWeek Walls adds color to City Hall

October 17, 2018

At the foot of Boston City Hall, the streets were alive and vibrant as “HUBWeek Walls” challenged onlookers with new perspectives on the world around them this week. This public art exhibit featured artwork by 11 different artists from Boston, Detroit, Miami, Dominican Republic and South Africa, who used empty shipping containers as their canvas.

The intent with the exhibit was to highlight the power of art and how although graffiti is seen as controversial it can also be a positive voice within a community, according to the HUBWeek website.

The main art exhibit, “Mermaids and Other Magical Creatures” by Okuda San Miguel, was placed inside the fenced off area of HUBweek. In his work, San Miguel uses geometric shapes and a wide array of colors to cause reflection on his piece, as he hopes to raise questions of existentialism, the universe, the infinite and the meaning of life. His work has been categorized as Pop Surrealism.

Halaina LeBlanc / Journal Staff
“617” by Deme5

The other 10 art pieces were placed outside of the fenced-in area open for the public to visit and discover throughout the week. The double-sided pieces attracted the attention of many tourists and locals.

“I think it’s probably a good way to get people in the area and to be here and get people to post it on social media,” said Adam Fisk of Somerville. “I work for an IT company and I have an interest in public art. I’ve seen Silvia Lopez Chavez before and I was here looking for her stuff specifically.”

Many of the street artists featured at HUBWeek focused on social activism in their work, including Ann Lewis whose piece, “A Post-Colorblind America,” asked its viewers to think about how we are all human and equal to each other. The interactive piece also allowed like-minded individuals to sign their name on the mural in an act of solidarity with Lewis, acknowledging their acceptance of all people.

Many attendees saw the artists’ commentary on social justice and political issues in their work as a way to show the wide range of subjects covered throughout HUBWeek, which is the point of the event.

“I think they all have very unique styles and that’s the perfect metaphor for what you’ll find inside of HUBWeek,” Boston University senior Brian Lombardo said. “There’s tech, there’s health, there’s a whole different variety of events.”

A couple pieces were reminiscent of the city of Boston, specifically DEME5’s “617” which highlighted the MBTA’s Orange Line and the green tracks they used to ride along above the city and Adam J. O’Day’s untitled piece featuring the skyline of Boston. Both of these double decker artworks were as large as the city they’re perched in for the time being as all the works did, standing larger than City Hall from the messages they represented.

The placement of the artwork in the heart of Boston was successful in drawing attention and also in creating a social media presence. Many groups of people paused to have their picture taken with the post-modern works. Each shipping container had “#HUBweek” and the social media handle of the artist written on the bottom.

Halaina LeBlanc / Journal Staff

“I think they’re really cool,” said Suffolk University senior biology major P. Sabrina Iarrobino. “I actually didn’t know they were doing this, they’re really creative and different from other artwork.”

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