This tattoo design was stained into the cement at the beginning of the main pier at Boston Shipyard, where the pier meets the land. It was intended to honor the native American tribes of the area, whose land this was.
This detail photo of the installation has been printed on archival watercolor paper and mounted on an 8″ wood block, embellished with gold and sealed with a thick epoxy topcoat bound in copper edging.
‘Turtle Island’ is a term used by several Northeastern Woodland Native American tribes, especially the those of the Iroquois Confederacy, as the name for the continent of North America. The turtle is a sacred figure in Native American symbolism as it represents Mother Earth, and plays a central role in the story of creation of the land. The Turtle symbol signifies good health and long life, and the hard shell of the turtle represents perseverance and protection.
The tree with its roots in the land continues up the pier in a line-and-dot “path through life” design, passing by the New England Sailors tattoo and joining up with the Taino/Arawak symbols stained further out the pier, symbolizing kinship and shared history with the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean.