Laney Day José Menéndez Tatiana Gómez

A Poetic Unmapping of Moshassuck

This map was created as a collective project in the Community Arts Writing class. Members of the Providence artistic, activist and cultural communities chose the locations that they felt sustain the city’s ecology and well-being. We hope you can explore some of these spaces. Icons by Laney Knudson
The land knows you, even when you are lost.

LAND = BODY is an open and ongoing archive of community resources, collectives, and spaces in Moshassuck, the area currently known as Providence, Rhode Island. Over the course of a few months, we have developed a collaborative digital map that centers essential local organizations, such as libraries, cultural centers, DIY and public spaces, harm reduction sites, queer archives, and shelters.

As we sit on College Hill, we recognize the harm that our institutions enact and perpetuate against the local community—acts of gentrification and displacement, historic exploitation of labor, and artistic and intellectual elitism. 

Looking at our map which was built with contributions from students, activists and community leaders, it is clear that the city that truly sustains us is weaved by people prioritizing the health of their neighbors, the accessibility of knowledge, and expression through art. Through this process of unmapping power structures and recentering care, we engage with the land as body, as spirit, as guide. The land is a liminal space—it is alive, beyond the destructive nature of capitalism and war, beyond limiting words, concepts and binaries.    

Understanding the history of this place means grappling with the blood-stained foundation that it was built upon. This land was stolen through the displacement, oppression, and genocide of Native People, and ‘developed’ through the use of slave labor that prolonged colonial wealth and supremacy. This system cannot be decolonized, no matter how many performative land acknowledgments are made. 

A downloadable PDF of the map can be found here.

Laney Day is an Anishinaabe and Cree artist from Montana. They are a painter, bead worker, writer, animator, problem-solver, and friend. Their work focuses on generational trauma and healing, homesickness, and the line between tragedy and comedy. They graduated from Brown with a degree in Ethnic Studies and RISD with a degree in Painting. Laney is currently living and working in Providence, RI, where they spend their days making art and home.

José Menéndez is a Puerto Rican graphic designer and educator, with a background in marine science communication and landscape architecture. He holds a BS in Landscape Architecture from Temple University, an MFA in Graphic Design from the Rhode Island School of Design, and a MMA in Marine Affairs with a specialization in Science Communication from the University of Rhode Island. José is a recipient of a 2020–2022 National Endowment for the Arts Grants for Arts Projects. He is an Assistant Professor in Graphic Design and Architecture at Northeastern University College of Art Media and Design in Boston. José is a co-founder of Buena Gráfica Social Studio, an interdisciplinary design studio based in Providence RI.

Tatiana Gómez is a Colombian graphic designer, printmaker, and educator. She holds a BA in Design from the Universidad de los Andes and an MFA in Graphic Design from the Rhode Island School of Design. Tatiana's work has been recognized by the Type Directors Club and the Society of Typographic Arts. She is an Assistant Professor in the Communication Design Department at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. Tatiana is a co-founder of Buena Gráfica Social Studio, an interdisciplinary design studio based in Providence RI.

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Further Reading