This St. Patrick’s Day, Mayor Marty Walsh got extra lucky.
A pair of local artists presented the mayor with a portrait just before he leaves town. Walsh is President Biden’s pick for labor secretary, with a confirmation vote scheduled for Monday in Washington, D.C.
“If presidents can have a presidential portrait, mayors can have a mayoral portrait,” artist Jamaal Eversley said in a phone interview Friday.
The small canvas painting features a graphic-style depiction of Walsh’s face over the American flag. It was inspired in part by the “Real F.R.I.E.N.D.S” exhibition, a 20-piece mixed-media collection Eversley crafted collaboratively to forward themes of friendship and love. The show includes several acrylic paintings, a fashion jacket, and a pair of original shoes. Artist Fernando Fula helped Eversley with one of the pieces.
Shortly after “Real F.R.I.E.N.D.S” debuted at City Hall in November, Walsh tweeted about how much he enjoyed the show and said it “brought life” to the Brutalist building. That inspired the artists to give Walsh something to hang in his new D.C. office.
“We strongly believe that Mayor Walsh is a champion of the people, a champion of the city,” Eversley said. “During the time of strife and struggle, he was fighting for all of us together.”
The pair brainstormed for a few days before landing on the idea of a portrait in blue, a color that represents “vigilance, perseverance, and justice,” according to Fula. Eversley painted the patriotic background, and Fula drew out Walsh’s features in just a few hours. They unveiled the piece during a December Friendsgiving Zoom event connected to the exhibition.
On Wednesday, when Walsh finally held the portrait in his hands, the mayor seemed pretty impressed, Eversley said. “He thought we captured him excellently.”
Walsh even promised to bring the piece to Washington, Eversley added. “That was music to our ears.”
At the Mayor’s Gallery, 5th floor, Boston City Hall. Through March 22. www.boston.gov/arts
Diti Kohli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @ditikohli_.
Diti Kohli can be reached at email@example.com.Follow her on Twitter @ditikohli_.