I was recently selected as one of 14 artists to submit work for one of four New York City subway stations. I submitted my proposal two weeks ago and I am waiting to hear back soon (fingers crossed everyone, and send good karma this way). The project is quite large requiring 140 horizontal feet of artwork! I can’t fit the whole work on this page, but here are a few “snippets”. My design illustrates a world where diverse individuals (the flowers) live together without prejudice or intolerance. In this world, every flower is unique and varied, and thrives in harmony with its neighboring blossoms.
To get my own feel for Astoria, I walked around the 30th Avenue neighborhood. This community is a true melting pot of humanity. Stand on a street corner for five minutes, and you’ll hear a half a dozen languages. Watch the pedestrians, and see headscarves, yarmulkes, turbans, and Mets caps that only hinted at the mélange of different cultures that live in the area. It seems that everyone here has found their place, and that place supports the tolerance of others.
Designs and Metaphor:
The fanciful design of my diversity garden represents the Astoria neighborhood. The wild assortment of flowers pose as the diversity of nationalities, religions, and cultural traditions existing in this community. These differences complement each other and it is the vast variety of the botanical species that make the garden so appealing. Metaphorically, my garden microcosm celebrates a post racial/bias world where differences and similarities are celebrated and supported by all members of a community. I believe Astoria is growing into such a community. The ribbons weaving through the flowers suggest the connectivity of the residents in this urban neighborhood and the many ways they touch each other’s lives.
I created the flowers similar in size to the subway commuters. As people walk by the blossoms, I hope they feel that they too are part of this colorful garden, just one more welcomed flower in the tolerant landscape of Astoria.