A permanent mural by Peter Boome with his son Araquin Boome.
Peter & Araquin Boome / Visible
10th & Pacific Ave
How do you make a statement without saying a word? That was the question father and son team of Peter and Araquin Boome posed themselves when approaching this mural. They wanted to make a statement, while remaining true to themselves and their artistic vision. As Coast Salish Artists Peter (Upper Skagit) and Araquin (Puyallup) didn’t want to jump on the latest issue or address a specific current event, instead, they wanted to help to bring light to issues of importance to them, either directly impacting their lives or the lives of people they know and love. They created a mural with multiple levels of meaning. One that the average person could view and see as an attractive image, a painting to beautify a public space. Others may see and understand the meanings behind the design, the complex interwoven story and relationships incorporated into the mural.
Design Elements from top to bottom:
- In the center of the design, we have the sun. The sun’s rays are shining down on the world bringing life and knowledge (culture) to the world. This design element was not the original intent but was necessitated by the space.
- On the upper left is a stylized Mount Tahoma (Rainier). The mountain was included this to show place, i.e., this is where we are. There are stars and geese in the sky. The geese are adapted from a historic Salish weaving pattern.
- Below the sky image is a grey Coast Salish border, representing the clouds, specifically the clouds that line the sky throughout much of the year here.
- Under the clouds are triangular images with faces, representing the mountains that surround and watch over us. The faces are looking up, down, straight ahead, and to either side.
- Below the mountains are two salmon images, one male one female. The image on the left is a male, on the right is a female. In the body of the male salmon in the shape of ribs or the body of the salmon are ancestors, representing the tie between the past and present. In the female there are eggs representing the future.
- Below the Salmon is a border with a frog figure and two guardian images. The frog represents change, and the guardian figures are there to look out over those who pass through the tunnel.
- On the sides of the tunnel entrance are ten stylized human figures wearing cedar hats. On the faces of each of these figures different indigenous women put a red handprint. This handprint represents murdered and missing indigenous peoples, which is an important ongoing issue in Indian country.
- There are 215 stars in the sky, representing the bodies of children recovered in one single residential school. The Boomes chose stars because of their beauty and their vastness, there are countless stars in the sky and the number of children taken from indigenous communities never to return is so vast it will never be counted.
Image description: As part of the process, the Boomes invited women to stamp their handprints in red throughout the mural, to remember all missing and murdered Indigenous Women. Pictured here is Tribal Council member Anna Bean adding her handprint to the mural.
Overall, Peter and Araquin wanted to make the statement that we are still here, our culture is still alive even if not easily seen. The location of this mural is a perfect metaphor for that statement. It is a large mural that is hidden away, yet it is full of nuance and meaning. They used both historic and contemporary colors to illustrate an evolving culture, one tied to the past by not restricted by it. Their work is rooted in a historic design style, one that is the foundation of what they do. “We don’t copy old designs, instead we build upon that foundation to explore our realities and make visible what is so very often invisible to others.“
See more of Peter Boome’s work at: www.peterboome.com