Poster Contest Winners 2023-2024

Honorable Mention, Grades 9-12

Mana Hayashida
Grade 11, Newton South High School, Newton
Mr. Jason Williams, Teacher

Contest Winner

MWRA employee. What does that even look like? I am ashamed to admit-I had to search it up.
Water treatment plant operator, engineer, maintenance worker-what am I, what do you think
of? I found myself spiraling down the rabbit hole, scouring the internet to find the perfect
"worker" to depict for an MWRA employee. Yet, I failed to see the glaring truth before me

My artwork approaches this question from a unique angle. I shifted my focus away from singular
individuals and towards an ambiguous figure, uncertain of their identity or purpose. It didn't feel
authentic to portray someone when I lacked true understanding of who they were. So, I set my
pen aside and instead sketched based on the fragments of knowledge I possessed. What I
discovered, however, was the vast chasm ofmy ignorance. Even as I pieced together
information, the image remained faceless.

Our society has a tendency to overlook the significance of those who ensure our access to clean
water. Water, an invaluable resource, yet we've somehow allowed the workers who maintain it to
fade into anonymity. They are as faceless now as they were before. We've forgotten their
identities, overlooked their contributions, and remained ignorant to their vital role. As someone
who volunteers at the Waterworks Museum (tour guide soon!), I'm continually struck by our
collective lack of awareness regarding the individuals who shaped our water infrastructure. The
museum lacks records about the individuals who worked in the pumping facility, with the most
information being about how many people worked at a time: 7.

But there is hope. The eyes in my artwork hint at a gradual dispersal of the fog, a growing
awareness that bridges the gap between faceless anonymity and tangible humanity. To truly
honor the MWRA workers, we must breathe life into their forgotten identities ( workers in the
past included), resurrecting their stories from the annals of history. Only then can we reverse the
trend of neglect that has persisted throughout Boston's history.

Lastly, my artwork incorporates elements of the Allis engine, symbolizing a connection between
past and present. It serves as a mirror, reflecting the importance of acknowledging and
appreciating those who labor tirelessly to ensure our access to clean water.

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