October 29, 2013

On Superstorm Sandy’s One-Year Anniversary, Swoon Unveils Mural Promoting Recovery and Resilience

Mural Dedication Ceremony: Tuesday, October 29 at 4:30pm

Location: Bowery and Houston, New York, NY 10002


NEW YORK, NYGroundswell, in partnership with Swoon and Goldman Properties, is pleased to announce a dedication ceremony to celebrate the unveiling of a temporary, site-specific public mural, entitled "Recovery Diaspora." 


The 20 ft high by 66 ft wide mural, located on the famed Bowery Mural wall, is the capstone mural created as part of the Recovery Diaspora series, a collaborative citywide public art installation developed by Swoon, together with youth from neighborhoods deeply impacted by Superstorm Sandy. In summer 2013, teen artists worked in collaboration with renowned street artist Swoon and Groundswell muralists Yana Dimitrova, Angel Garcia, Jazmine Hayes, and Misha Tyutunik to create four permanent murals for Coney Island, Far Rockaway, Red Hook, and Staten Island. Youth artists drew from stories of healing and recovery to create a visual narrative that captures the concerns, hopes, and overall spirit of these communities. 


"Recovery Diaspora" illustrates the vision and optimism of these young people. The mural's central figure is Thalassa, a goddess from Greek mythology known as the mother of all sea creatures. An elementary school, which acted as a shelter in the Rockaways, shines in the form of a lighthouse. An octopus fails to drown Red Hook underwater thanks to the efforts of hundreds of volunteers from across the nation. A mermaid comforts Coney Island while a heart contains healing for the lost children of Staten Island.


Scheduled to coincide with the anniversary of the storm, "Recovery Diaspora" is a testament to both resilience and vulnerability, and by engaging the public in its design, it serves to highlight the importance of continued relief efforts by and for Sandy's victims. 


"I believe that color and beauty and culture, that some people believe are luxuries, are actually something inspiriting to people," explained Swoon, "especially in situations of struggle."


"This capstone mural brings to life stories of recovery from the perspective of youth affected by Superstorm Sandy," said Groundswell Executive Director Amy Sananman. "Over the past five months, these young people have worked together, in public, engaging their neighbors, friends, local businesses, and passersby. Through this engagement, they strengthened the connective tissue that binds their communities and helped them heal."


"We were able to see that we are all connected in some way," shared Staten Island teen artist Tasleem Sheikh. "We told each other stories, related to one another, and supported each other. That was the most important thing about this mural project for me-relating to one another to create family and have valuable shared experiences. I was able to open up and let new people into my life, which I know will help me move forward."


About Groundswell

Groundswell, New York's leading community public art organization, brings together artists, youth, and community organizations to use art as a tool for social change. Groundswell projects beautify neighborhoods, engage youth in societal and personal transformation, and give expression to ideas and perspectives that are underrepresented in the public dialog.www.groundswellmural.org


About Swoon

SWOON (Caledonia Curry) is widely considered a leader in the genre of street art. She is best known for her intricately cut, life-sized portraits found on streets and abandoned buildings in cities around the world. Her work belongs to the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Brooklyn Museum, and has appeared in exhibitions at Deitch Projects and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, among others. Swoon's artistic process is predicated on the belief that art is an immersive, provocative, and transformative experience for its participants. 


About Goldman Properties

The arts are integrated throughout the Goldman Properties Company. Goldman Properties has invited artists to New York, Philadelphia and Miami for the chance to work on monumental platforms of a public nature and has continued to support these artists in their own right. The Goldman Properties Arts Program searches out new and emerging artists of the Street Art genre and beyond, fostering careers and developing connections between art and public space. www.goldmanproperties.com


About the Recovery Diaspora Series

Through Recovery Diaspora, teen participants chose to dedicate their summer to creating four permanent murals for their communities, created in collaboration with renowned street artist Swoon and local community-based partner organizations. These murals are tied together by the temporary site-specific mural on the famed Bowery Mural wall, created by Swoon herself. 


"Recovery Diaspora" is made possible through the generous support of Goldman Properties.