THREE GUARDIANS BRIGHTEN WASHINGTON ST.

Salem artist Anna Dugan works on her mural, The Three Guardians, on Washington Street in Lynn as part of Beyond Walls’ 2022 Street Art Tour. (Spenser Hasak)

LYNN — Local art non-profit Beyond Walls, which works to utilize public spaces as canvasses for local artists, wrapped up its 2022 Street Art Tour on Washington Street with the debut of a large, brightly-colored mural, “The Three Guardians.”

Salem mural painter Anna Dugan brought three 15-foot tall female guardians onto the wall underneath the commuter rail bridge on Washington Street, with bright shades of blue, yellow, and green paint comprising each guardian.

Dugan said that the guardians were a depiction of herself, her mother, and her grandmother. She said that the piece also served as a reimagination of her first mural in 2018, also a portrait of her, her mother, and her grandmother, on Mt. Vernon Street, which Dugan said was vandalized a few years ago.

“It’s a very special mural to me. This is a portrait series of myself, my mom, and my grandmother, so it’s three generations of women. My first ever permanent public art piece was actually on Mount Vernon Street, and it was a triptych of myself, my mom, and my grandmother. And this is sort of my reimagining of that after four and a half years of becoming a mural artist, obviously, doing it on a much larger scale, but also in an updated style,” Dugan said.

“The Three Guardians,” Dugan said, pays homage to her Filipino heritage, depicting three culturally matriarchal women. Dugan said that she hopes for the mural to bring a sense of power and strength to its late-night passersby.

“I come from a lineage of very strong women, so I wanted to pay homage to that, especially under this bridge,” Dugan said. “I wanted to paint three very powerful looking women, almost as the guardians under the bridge, to keep watch over people. I always feel better when I feel like someone’s looking after me. This space has been known for not-so-great things happening, this is my way of saying ‘hey, someone’s looking out for you.’ That’s not to say that this will stop a car accident from happening, but sometimes it’s just a mental sense of feeling better about the space and sort of reclaiming.”

Although the Beyond Walls mural festivals have been cut back through the pandemic, Dugan said that the organization is making a much-needed comeback.

“After COVID, the mural festivals kind of slowed down a bit. This is their way of getting back into that,” Dugan said. “Like everything else, we’re all slowly recovering the things that we’ve lost, including the mural festivals, and I think slowly but surely those things are coming back. This particular project has been wonderful to take the muraling that they’ve been doing in Lynn to other cities as well. Like kind of spreading that artistic love.”

Anthony Cammalleri can be reached at anthony@itemlive.com

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