Rome, Italy - Triumphs and Laments; Boston, MA - Dock Tattoo Project



Rome, Italy - Triumphs and Laments; Boston, MA - Dock Tattoo Project

Catalog Entry

On the Tiber River in Rome a mural, titled Triumphs and Laments designed by William Kentridge, stretches across the waterline along the walls. The mural was designed using water as dirt removal on the walls to stencil the designs. Kentridge faced controversy due to the fact that the mural was a memory of the failures and the triumphant moments of the great city of Rome. The mural was also created by Kentridge without any patronage from the Pope or support from the city; the public art project was a risk that the artist took and it showcases a broad history of Rome. The image in the photo is the She-Wolf, which was suckled by Romulus and Remus who founded Rome. The She-Wolf was selfless and gave her energy to the twins so they could succeed in their journey to found Rome. The She-Wolf is a known symbol of ones loyalty to Rome, therefore the image of her in the mural shows that the citizens of Rome have been loyal and selfless for their great city, reminding those in Rome to appreciate, remember and stay loyal to Rome and the cultural heritage of the city. Though the mural does show laments of the city as well, it shows the laments to address the wrongs that Rome has done as well as give a voice and representation to those who may have been wronged by the city they were loyal to.

The Dock Tattoo Project in Boston, Massachusetts is a piece of cultural heritage that can be closely connected to the mural in Rome. Liz LaManche is the artist behind the project, and she created 1000-foot long tattoo designs using ink and a paint brush to craft tattoo designs that represented the many different cultures and cultural heritages that have been throughout history and still are today connected to Boston Harbor. The piece is meant to bring the people of Boston together, to remind them of the many wins and losses that America has had, as well as give a proper representation of the many cultures that helped shape America. The piece is a form of public art that represents the highs and lows of Boston, and it allows those on the Harbor to look out at the art and the ocean and remember those who were here before them.

Both public art pieces remind viewers that they should stay in connection with their cultural heritage as well as remember those who were not given proper representation throughout history. Both artists put diversity and inclusion at the top of their list and made it a priority to represent honesty in their artwork. Reminders of those who lived before us and those who weren’t given equal opportunities are important so that we can continue to practice freedom and allow others to have their own freedom too.


Lauf, Cornelia. “Locating William Kentridge's Massive Mural in the Roman Landscape.” Hyperallergic, 21 Apr. 2016,

LaManche, Liz. “Connected by Sea: Boston’s 1000-Ft Tattoo.” Dock Tattoo Project, Accessed 5 May 2018.

Shao, Yiqing. “East Boston Pier Is Getting Public Art ‘Tattoos’.” Boston Magazine, 27 Aug. 2014,

Tomrankinarchitect. “William Kentridge's Triumphs and Laments.” TRA_20, 7 July 2017,

Catalog Entry Author(s)

Autumn Battista, Student, Fitchburg State University

Research Assistant(s)

Tenzin Dhakpa, Student, Fitchburg State University
Chris Lach, Student, Fitchburg State University
Zachary Romero, Student, Fitchburg State University
Victoria Weeks, Student, Fitchburg State University


Kisha G. Tracy


“Rome, Italy - Triumphs and Laments; Boston, MA - Dock Tattoo Project,” Cultural Heritage through Image, accessed April 13, 2024,

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