Atabey depicts 3 Indigenous women: 2 Nipmuc & 1 Afro-Taína. An image from this series will be installed as a photo mural in Indian Orchard. The project was funded by Common Wealth Murals.

Motivations behind the work

“I wanted to honor the Taínos (Indigenous community from the Caribbean) but already felt off about taking up space in my previous mural work with there being very little representation in the public art world for the Indigenous nations in this region. I decided I wanted to create a mural that honored both (nations from the Caribbean & Western Mass area). Being from Puerto Rico, (a current colony of the US), I feel very strongly about cultural appropriation & displacement - and because of this it was important for me to find a Creative Co-Director from a local Indigenous community, (Jasmine is also Nipmuc), that would help lead/create the vision of the project in an authentic & respectful way, in addition to featuring Indigenous models that have made contributions to their communities.

During our creative process one of the models, Alvilda who is also a historian, uncovered that where I was called to do the photoshoot, has a tragic story behind it. Alvilda informed us that our photoshoot location had been an area where natives had been chased down by colonizers who were trying to murder them, and decided to jump down off the cliff into the water - the natives and their children died.

This mural is a way of reclaiming space, making people aware of this area’s history, but also a way of showing that there are still Indigenous communities out here and they’re thriving.”