On This Land: Reframing Public Memory

Image courtesy MAPC





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How do monuments and memorials shape our understanding of place—and what we choose to forget? And how might we reframe public memory to address the harmful legacy of colonialism in our region?  

Kim Szeto, Program Director of Public Art, New England Foundation for the Arts will moderate a conversation among local artists Nia Holley (Nipmuc), Jonathan Perry (Aquinnah Wampanoag), and Erin Genia (Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota) to explore how remembering and forgetting of Indigenous peoples and colonial history have shaped the landscape and collective consciousness of Greater Boston. Looking at several sites of significance for Indigenous communities in the region, they’ll unpack the meaning of these places through their personal histories and creative practices and share their perspectives on the necessary role of Indigenous artists in shaping more just public spaces. 

Three headshots over the collage design event artwork.
(from left:) Erin Genia, Nia Holley, and Jonathan Perry

Guest speakers: 

  • Erin Genia (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate), Artist in Residence for the City of Boston 
  • Nia Holley (Nipmuc) 
  • Jonathan Perry (Aquinnah Wampanoag), Culture bearer, leader, historian, artist and professional speaker 
  • Kim Szeto, Program Director of Public Art at the New England Foundation for the Arts (moderator) 

This event is part of Public Art, Public Memory, a discussion series co-hosted by NEFA’s Public Art team and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council’s Arts and Culture Department. This series explores the role that planners, artists, and community leaders can play in cultivating more just and inclusive public spaces through public art and collective memory. 

This event also precedes Centering Justice: Indigenous Artists’ Perspectives Art in Public Space, a virtual symposium September 23-24, 2020. The symposium is organized through a collaboration among Indigenous artists and NEFA’s Public Art team.



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