North Square Public Art Project | A+J Art+Design

Feast Sculpture

North End Processions and Feasts

On the southeast side of North Square near Sacred Heart Church is the fourth sculpture in the series. Its theme is local feasts and processions and the North End as the gateway to the City of Boston for innumerable immigrant groups since the 17th century, most recently the Italians.

Outwardly, the sculpture is a symbol of the traveler: an open suitcase. Inside is a series of intersecting scenes with scale shifts and forced perspective like a theater stage set. Together the scenes tell stories of the North End as a neighborhood into which immigrants have been importing traditions from their home countries for centuries. The scenes evoke Feast Days in the North End, celebrations imported directly from villages in southern Italy. A procession is in progress and the people are carrying a ciborium containing a celebrated Saint through narrow streets. One of the building facades inside the suitcase shows the edifice of Sacred Heart Church as it appears across the street from this sculpture.

Inside and outside blur in these scenes. Children playing in the streets are always under the watchful eye of others leaning out their windows on pillows propped on sills, a scene that will resonate with anyone who grew up in the neighborhood. Coming around the back of the open suitcase, we see an older woman with her back to us. She’s at her window looking at the procession and we are with her in her living room looking over her shoulder. A neighbor’s home spills out into the street, connecting with others until the whole neighborhood is one big family.

Inside the top of the suitcase is a sky with clouds and at the bottom, streets end at the Harbor. The intersecting views and non-realistic use of perspective are like the views through the scopes of the Marine Instrument on one side of the Feast Sculpture. The facades of the different buildings also recall the scenery of the 1798 North Square Relief on the sculpture’s other side.

Finally, the outside of the suitcase has luggage labels affixed to it. These images will be produced in collaboration with local school children and will refer to the many places North End residents have come from over the years. The labels will be embossed translations of the children’s drawings.