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Alewives and Mercury Fish

Artist: Albert Zeno

Commissioned by: Unknown

Location: Lake Park and 55th, in Metra Underpass

Medium: Mural

Commentary: A strange and fascinating work which is mainly meant to deal with the problem of pollution in Lake Michigan. When it was painted, an alien species of fish called alewives were causing great damage to the native lake fish, while mercury had recently been discovered to be a serious and deadly element in lake water. Like "Under City Stone" which is across the street from it, "Alewives and Mercury Fish" was a serious attack on the way things were in its time.

Aside from politics, the mural has many things to think about. Who are the women with children who seem to hover over a lake filled with dead fish? Are they meant to look like Jesus and his disciples in the "Last Supper?" Why do the children in the foreground seem to look at us, and not the lake?

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