a series of four murals inspired by the poem
Ciudad sin sueño (Nocturno de Brooklyn Bridge) / Sleepless City (Brooklyn Bridge Nocturne),
a three year project sponsored by Artmakers Inc.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Bushwick murals use Spanish poetry to capture diversity

Spanish playwright and poet  Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936) lived in New York for nine months from June 1929 through March 1930.  Sharing the loneliness and alienation experienced by immigrants new to New York, he saw much that was wrong with the city, and his work is filled with surrealistic images that speak to ills that still exist today: poverty, racism and violence.  Selected for the Brooklyn reference in its title, Sllepless City: Brooklyn Bridge Noctuyrne has great universality in that it explores modernity and what it means to be human, to desire.  Click here for the English and Spanish versions of the poem.

The four The Federico Garcia Lorca Muralsthe last to be painted in Summer 2013honor Bushwick’s residents and workers.    The murals are located with a 15 square block area of this neighborhood of long-established and more recent immigrants as well as newer emerging artists.  The murals are close to the subway and all can be easily be visited on foot. 

The Federico Garcia Lorca Murals is a project of Artmakers Inc. which, since 1984, has worked with community organizations to create high quality public art relevant to lives and concerns of neighborhood residents and workers.

 Mural #1.  Starr Street between Wycoff and Irving Avenues, 10’ x95’

The first mural (2011) is on Starr Street between Wycoff and Irving Avenues.  The second and third murals (2012) are on opposite corners of Himrod Street at the intersection of Knickerbocker Avenue.  The 2013 mural will be on Stockholm Street at the corner of Knickerbocker.

Each mural includes a stanza from Lorca’s poem, in both Spanish and English translations, as well as a feature of the poet’s face—his eyes (to see, Mural #1), his lips (to speak, Mural #2), an ear (to listen, Mural #3).  The final mural in the series will feature Lorca's entire face.

Mural #2.  Himrod Street at Knickerbocker Avenue, 8½’ x 88’   

As the artists worked, residents and workers daily passed by the wall, tracking the progess of the murals.  They not only stopped to read the text and engage the muralits in conversation, they also contributed to a major design element of each of the murals—a visual representation of their countries of origin.  This information was collected through conversation or by their writing down countries and cities on notices taped to the walls.

Mural #3.  Himrod Street at Knickerbocker Avenue, 8’ x 60’

On Starr Street, flags representing homelands were painted in the white stripes of the American flag.   On Lorca #2, cities of origin are represented by dots on a map of the world entitled Bushwick: A World Without Borders.  The majority of Himrod Street residents/ families are from Puerto Rico, many settling in Bushwick at 40 years ago and, on Mural #3, their towns are represented on a map of the island.  A map of Bushwick will be incorporated in Mural #4 which will indicate the locations of the other murals.

                   2013: Mural #4.  Stockholm Street at Knickerbocker Avenue, 8’ x 77’