Last Saturday, the weather was not too hot, and we had not been to any place outside the house. So we decided to take a ride to Providence and went to see the Goddess of Work. A few days before that, a friend from Cambridge, MA, gave me a tip on new murals in Providence. Thank you, Adnan. As expected, on a Saturday afternoon we found the streets to be quite empty.
Goddess of Work Stood Tall
Commissioned by The Avenue Concept, the mural artist Octavi Arrizabalaga (ARYZ) painted the murals to celebrate the industrial age in Providence. Painted on the back side of a new luxury apartment building, Emblem 125, the two murals cover two large gray walls.
Dominated by warm colors, one mural depicts a group of workers tugging a rope in unison. The other, vertical mural is of a woman holding a sledgehammer in her hand and wearing a green leaf crown. She is the Goddess of Work. A celebration of Rhode Island’s role in the industrial revolution.
Industrial Revolution Remnants
In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Rhode Island was one of the leading places of the industrial revolution. Particularly strong in textile manufacturing, it was also one of the key harbors of transportation.
I remember back in 1973 when I was coming to Rhode Island to do research, a manager of one of the major textile companies in Adana asked if I could stop by Leesona and find out when the textile machines they ordered might ship. The factory was in Warwick, not too far from where we live now, on Jefferson Boulevard, I think.
I also remember Jan visiting some of the remaining textile mills, like the Hamilton Mill in North Kingstown to buy by the pound fine lace, embroidery, and other colorful and intricate remnants that we took as gifts to friends and family in Turkey. They were big hits in the late 1970s. All textile manufacturing has left Rhode Island, even remnant stores do not exist anymore.
Two Large Murals
A tribute to the early days of the industrial revolution, the murals are at the corner of Richmond and Friendship Streets. The view is a bit difficult to photograph as another building at one end somewhat blocks it. A narrow alley from Richmond street leads to a larger opening with a slightly better view. There are construction artifacts as the building is not finished yet. There are several other new additions in the area.
As we walked around and photographed the murals, and the new buildings, I noticed a cluster of green leaves creating an equally complex structure as if nature was competing with human construction.
Other Interesting Places
Around the corner was a new parking garage that looked quite modern and nicely decorated with hanging material. They added an extra touch of additional interest and probably offered some additional purpose. I wonder if they may lessen the wind blow?
An older brick building with a bright red door had some metal grill on much of its walls. It may have a purpose beyond visual interest but I could not figure out what. Walking towards where we parked the car on Richmond Street, we came to a very colorful wall. It was hard to resist taking a few photographs of the walls of Club Ego.
These are quite different from the organized graffiti we photographed on a wall on Harris Avenue. Those were smaller and more random. These murals are much larger and representative of a unified idea.
We made it back to the car at a comfortable pace for both of us and drove home. It was a lovely afternoon indeed.
Here are Jan’s photographs:
These are the ones I made:
I am updating the post with two infrared photographs. One is monochrome and the other one has the red and blue channels swapped giving it almost a normal look. The color shifts are significant and I am including them for the infrared aficionados.