ProBlak installed “Breathe Life Together” on Rose Kennedy Greenway.Photo: Serena Colby
A new mural has been formed in Dewey Square on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Rob “ProBlak” Gibbs’ “Breathe Life Together” is the latest in local artist’s “Breathe Life” series, depicting black children in moments of joy and empowerment.
“As the first black Boston artist to paint a mural in Dewey Square, I am honored to work with the Greenway Conservancy,” Gibbs said. “My vision is to somehow brighten the Boston skyline, elevate the voices and work of those who came before us and those who come after us. It’s about love and understanding that brings this space to a higher frequency.”
This mural, in particular, has a personal connection with Gibbs. In it, his daughter Bobbi Lauren wEars are wearing tracksuits and standing next to an old-fashioned speaker. Lauren looks out to Dewey Square, making direct eye contact with the audience. Bold murals welcome visitors into the park and city.
“With his extraordinary ability to tell stories through traditional murals and contemporary street art, Rob engages and brings critical dialogue of representation, voice and institution to the forefront of Boston’s public realm,” said Audrey Lopez, director of public art and curator at Greenway Conservancy .
On June 25th, Greenway will be hosting a block party from 2-8 p.m. to celebrate the mural. Co-curated by Chez Vous/Boston Swerve and AfroDesiaCity, the party will feature a pop-up ice rink, live music, art production and food trucks.
Gibbs began his artistic career growing up in Roxbury during the golden age of hip-hop. His early graffiti work still influences his style. “Breathing Life Together” is painted in aerosol and acrylic paints and is mostly black and white, with pops of color in the yellow skyline above Lauren and the green grass below her. Gibbs completed the mural over the past month with the assistance of local artists Genaro “Go Five” Ortega, Lee “SOEM” Beard and Luis “Take 1” Taforo.
“Graffiti is a tool for me and others in the community to document and immortalize our culture and history,” Gibbs said. “It’s a modern form of hieroglyphics, a way of documenting and paying tribute to the unheard in my community.”
Gibbs was both the first Boston-born and raised artist commissioned to create the mural and the first black person commissioned to do so. His deep roots in the Boston art world have made Breathing Life Together a strong homage to the city and its people—all of them.