Nanook

201 Secaucus Road, Secaucus, NJ - Photo by Bernadette Marciniak

201 Secaucus Road, Secaucus, NJ - Photo by Bernadette Marciniak

One of the main entrances into Secaucus, NJ will now greet people with a pair of murals painted by Nanook. For this wall the central figure is a Lenni-Lenape man as painted by George Catlin.  To the right of the portrait is a 'secaucus', the Lenape name for black snake which lays a top a manifest destiny painting by Albert Bierstadt. The Lenni-Lenape mans face is then replicated to the left but digitally altered as it gets washed into a painting of Snake Hill by Charles Parson from 1871. Secaucus was originally an island which was eventually filled and bridged over the course of New York Cities development, so it was important for the artist while making this piece about entrances to also reference the forced exodus of the Lenni-Lenape, with the name of the region being one of the only lasting marks of their being here.

201 Secaucus Road, Secaucus, NJ - Photo by Bernadette Marciniak

201 Secaucus Road, Secaucus, NJ - Photo by Bernadette Marciniak

On the opposite wall centered is Peter Stuyvesant, the Director General of New Netherland in 1658, who initially purchased Secaucus. Stuyvesant is the center of many folklore stories in Americas early history. In this painting he is depicted with a tulip obscuring his face as he was blinded by his religion and enforced strong religious rules in New Amsterdam and all the territories he was governing over. Behind his head is a porcelain pineapple representing the spoils he sent back to the Netherlands. He was employed by the Dutch West India Trading Company which is represented by the ship to the far left. To the right there is a background of the Meadowlands overlaid with more Dutch tulips referencing Secaucus' first function as farmland specifically for cultivating flowers, with three birds flying over, two Black-Tailed Godwits seemingly chasing a Golden Finch, a Native bird to the area. 

[Photo Album]

In collaboration with Mayor Michael Gonnelli and the Town of Secaucus.


505 Windsor Drive Secaucus, NJ - Photo by Bernadette Marciniak

505 Windsor Drive Secaucus, NJ - Photo by Bernadette Marciniak

For this massive 200 foot long wall that faces Kane Stadium Nanook, LNY, and Mata Ruda paid particular attention and homage to those whose who originally inhabited the land where Secaucus is now located, the Lenni Lenape Native Americans. In the words of the artists the “mural is a compilation of different flowers native to New Jersey as well as the Monarch butterfly, a symbol of migration for the Americas as it moves north to south during its lifetime. These symbols of locality and movement are weaved as the background and broken by a Diamondback Terrapin Turtle on the right side, a species native to black swamps and marshes and by a series of silhouettes. These silhouettes are all taken from a First Nation’s Powwow and speak to Secaucus’ Lenni Lenape history and also of the idea of a Powwow or social gathering which is echoed by the Kane Stadium location of the mural. Inside these silhouettes [they] recreated one of George Catlin’s paintings in greyscale. Catlin was the first 1800′s American painter to visually record Native American people’s and traditions in the Great Plains, [with this] one of the paintings he made during his travels and in a way serv[ing] as a reminder of the importance of representation and the artist’s role as a medium, witness and active agent in this struggle.”

[Photo Album]

In collaboration with Mayor Michael Gonnelli and the Town of Secaucus.


166 Christopher Drive Jersey City, NJ - Photo by Stephen Olweck

166 Christopher Drive Jersey City, NJ - Photo by Stephen Olweck

This huge joint done by Nanook and Mata Ruda proves that traditional mural painting is always here to stay. Drawing inspiration from Jersey City’s significant horticulture economy during the mid-nineteenth century the mural reflects the gardening industry that the Peter Henderson Company set forth in the community. Capitalizing on Jersey City’s industrial waste and byproducts Henderson was able to furnish his expansive greenhouses with the essential ingredients needed for commercial farming which set forth these easily forgotten gardening operations and contributed to the unique mix of Jersey City’s diverse economy [even though they left no notable landmark buildings or other physical traces of their activities]. The hands at the center of the mural are of an undocumented immigrant in America, referencing Diego Rivera’s painting “The Hands of Dr.Moore” who is transplanting a dissected laurel bay leaf branch (Laurus nobilis – an Ancient Greek symbol of the highest imperial nobility). Meanwhile, the two blocked off landscapes and floral images on either side show the exotic plants that the Peter Henderson Co. grew in fields (right) compared to their natural habitat in Mexican mountain ranges (left), topped off with a gold finch, a migratory bird, again referencing the immigrants that came to the States to work our fields.

[Photo Album]