Yesterday afternoon, an impressive group of 11 international artists finished up their murals on nine separate walls in El Barrio and the South Bronx. It was the final day of the week-long MonumentArt Festival, which, in addition to adding a bunch of dope new pieces to the neighborhood, also brought local students into the creative process in a variety of ways.
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, whose support and general enthusiasm was instrumental in bringing the festival back to her district, visited several of the locations on Sunday, to goof around with artists and chat with her constituents. And festival organizer Jose Morales threw a closing party at his La Marqueta Retoña on Park and 115th Street.
ROA's work (Scott Lynch / Gothamist)
Although the artists hail from around the world—Puerto Rico, Argentina, Belgium, Mexico, Los Angeles, South Africa, and right here in New York City—each mural is tied to the history and culture of the East Harlem neighborhood, though the connection is more obvious in some works (El Mac and Cero's portait of Nicholsa Mohr, the El Barrio resident and long-time leader of the Nuyorican scene) than in others (ROA's cuddle puddle of animals).
El Mac and Cero's work (Scott Lynch / Gothamist)
Perhaps the most fully-realized piece of the MonumentArt Festival is Viajero's beautiful, mixed-media tribute to the city's—and the world's—immigrants and refuges, a huge, inherently fragile paper boat carrying a young boy. Students of P.S. 102, where the mural is located, made dozens of their own origami boats, which Viajero will hang like streamers above the sidewalk.
The locations of almost all of the murals are included in the captions in the above gallery; the only one not photographed yesterday was by Elizam Escobar, which was locked inside the Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center on 106th Street and Lexington Avenue. Here's the list of artists and mural locations:
· Viajero (New York City): P.S. 102, 113th Street and 2nd Avenue
· El Mac (Los Angeles) and Cero (Puerto Rico): Mosaic Preparatory Academy, Harlem Success Academy 3, Mickey Mantle School, 111th Street and Lexington Avenue
· Faith 47 (South Africa) and Sego (Mexico): P.S. 171 and Central Park East II, 103rd Street and Madison Avenue (two murals)
· Elizam Escobar (Puerto Rico): Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center, 106th Street and Lexington Avenue
· Ever (Argentina): El Barrio’s ArtSpace P.S. 109, 99th Street and 3rd Avenue
· Luis R. Vidal (Puerto Rico): Con Edison, 111th Street and 1st Avenue
· Roa (Belgium): Lexington Gardens, 108th Street and Lexington Avenue
· 2ALAS (Puerto Rico): 138th Street and Park Avenue underpass, Bronx (two murals)