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Rainbow Swash by Corita Kent

In 1971, artist Corita Kent (1918-1986) designed the rainbow swash which was painted on one of the storage tanks in Dorchester. The tanks were quite drab, and the rainbow painting greatly brightened the commute for many Bostonians along the Southeast Expressway (I93).

If you look closely at the blue swash, some people believe it resembles the profile of Vietnamese Leader Ho Chin Minh. A forehead, nose, lips, and long beard, might be discerned. In 1971, the United States was at war with Vietnam, and some people believe the blue swash was intentionally designed as a public protest. Corita Kent was a promoter of peace in the world, but denied that a profile was embedded in the rainbow.

The storage tank was eventually demolished, and the rainbow swash was painted on the remaining tank. It is said the nose was made less pronounced on the second tank. Art is perceived by the eye of the beholder, and one can likely see other things in this rainbow.

Corita Kent is also famous for the 1985 United States postage stamp "Love," which sold hundreds of millions of copies. About Ho Chin Minh, he actually worked at Boston's Parker House Hotel during the 1920's when he lived in the United States.

The tank is on the east side of I93 about 2 miles south of downtown Boston. You can't miss it while driving north or south; the [former] blue swash is quite visible as the painting is huge.

 

Corita Kent Rainbow Swash

 

Corita Kent Love Stamp

 

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