Matsya and the Great Deluge

Artist: Bojh Parker

Location: The alleyway next to 345 North Franklin (Visit Mendocino Office)

The sheer scale of Bojh’s 15’x55′ mural is dizzying, in a great way. Stand in front of it, and you will be instantly drawn into the  swirling patterns, colors and waves just like Matsya, the fish protagonist in the story that inspired this mural.

A computer mockup of the original proposed design…
The blank canvas
The work begins
The completed final work… so big your eyes swim through it.

Inspiration for this installation

Matsya and the Great Deluge is an ancient tale from India retold in many texts starting around 700 BCE.  Matsya is a small fish that appears to a great king named Manu, either in his wash bowl, or while he is performing religious rites by a river. Matsya begs Manu for protection from larger fish, and promises to save him from a great flood in the future. The king protects the small fish, transferring him to larger and larger containers of water as he grows. Eventually Matsya is so large that Manu puts him in the ocean. Matsya thanks the king for protecting him when he was small and vulnerable. He tells Manu the date that the devastating floods will arrive, and where the king should meet him with the great ship he must now go and build. On the day of the deluge Matsya finds the king and his ship among the swirling waters and tows him to the Himalayas where the king performs prayers and sacrifices, and re-establishes all life, thereby saving humanity and averting the complete destruction of the world. Pretty great, right? 

How this installation came to be

Bojh Parker has an instantly recognizable style, so we were familiar with his work from other art shows around town. We were thrilled when he joined the Alleyway Art Project, and very impressed at his ambitious proposal for the very large wall that Alan Limbird volunteered for a possible public art space. Alan immediately pulled Bojh’s design out of the stack of proposals for the space. He later said, ” I immediately knew that was the one!  Bojh’s mural really resonated with me. I didn’t look any further.  I told Lia, this is the one.  Let’s do it.” We have to admit, we were surprised, and impressed. It takes vision and courage to commit to such a bold design at that scale, but Alan has a sharp eye for talent, and he saw the potential in this proposal.Alan and Laura Limbird very generously offered to co-sponsor the mural. With Flockworks as a co-sponsor, a grant from The Mendocino County Tourism Commission, and some delightfully unexpected donations from members of the community and local businesses, we reached our funding goal and began planning the installation process.  The finished work has exceeded everyone’s expectations. The mural has transformed the space, with locals and visitors alike regularly taking photos and chatting about “how they would describe this style of artwork.” To see more of Bojh’s work visit his website ​bojhparkermedia.com

If you want to commission a mural by Bojh you can inquire through his website contact page.

The story of Matsya and the king Manu, reminds us that sometimes if we protect small, delicate things from the “law of the jungle” where the strong gobble up the weak, the small things will have a chance to grow into mighty forces for good, that may someday save us all when we need it most. There are many real life examples of this story happening right now in Fort Bragg, from obvious examples like the local organizations working to restore our local rivers for salmon and trout, to less obvious examples like early childhood education programs, or if we may be so bold, the Alleyway Art Project, which started as a small “what if” and with the help of Flockworks and so many wonderful members of our community is growing into something far larger than we could have ever imagined.