Move it along
by Miles Howard
| May 20, 2012
Wander through the urban jungle of Cambridge on most days, and you’ll probably see a pretty benign biosphere, with a few grad students here, some skinny-jean-clad hipsters there. But in recent weeks, you also may have glimpsed some significantly wilder specimens on the street — a herd of elephants clomping by Kendall Square Cinema, say, or a single lion crouched outside East Coast Grill. Thankfully, there hasn’t been a security breach at Franklin Park Zoo. These safari-like sights are part of “Move Me,” a “pop-up public art project” in which unassuming white cars and vans are wrapped with paintings of wild animals.
“Move Me” is the creation of local artist Roberta Paul, former Allston Skirt Gallery curator Beth Kantrowitz, and the Cambridge Arts Council. It was inspired by Paul’s travels to the Serengeti of Tanzania and Kenya, where she was moved by the freedom enjoyed by its diverse, commingling wildlife. Their lack of confines heightened Paul’s sense of the real and metaphoric boundaries we two-legged animals experience, especially in city life: even in a progressive place like Cambridge, when you squeeze 100,000-plus people (many of whom are immigrants) into less than seven square miles of space, self-imposed social and ethnic isolation can occur. So the intent of Paul’s project and her painted animals’ multi-week migration through Cambridge can be summed up with two words: breaking barriers. Like the wildlife she first saw in the Serengeti, these creature-clad vehicles roam without respect to boundaries, hopefully inspiring Cantabrigians to do the same.
However, if you’d like to see the entire menagerie gathered in one place, visit the CAC Gallery (344 Broadway, Cambridge, 617.349.4380) by June 15 to see Paul’s work presented in a more conventional exhibit, which includes an audio-visual component featuring interviews with Cambridge residents who share their own stories of immigration and cultural adjustment. To learn more, visit watch-me-move.com.