MonumentArt2015 was the second installment of the International Mural Festival in East Harlem and the Bronx, sponsored by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, José Morales of La Marqueta Retoña and La Respuesta in Santurce, Puerto Rico, partnered with muralist Celso González to produce and curate the festival. Eleven internationally known artists created nine murals throughout El Barrio from 99th Street to 138th Street. Many of the murals focused on El Barrio’s rich culture and heritage. Let’s take a walk, as we watched the artists create in October, 2015.
Three of the mural locations are schools, where students had the opportunity to meet the artists and learn how large-format murals are created. El Museo del Barrio, a partner in this project, engaged in workshops alongside the artists where they allowed the students to work with sidewalk chalk; and Creative Art Works, a community-based organization that engages young people in the arts, will brought young people to collaborate with the artists and serve as apprentices for which they were paid a stipend.
“We value reading great books above all else. it is wonderful that this mural will recognize an individual from the neighborhood who has made such important contributions to literature, said David Noah, principal of Success Academy Harlem East.” As he speaks about the mural above, a painting of local Nuyorican writer and poet, Nicholas Mohr.
“El Barrio/East Harlem and the South Bronx are both known for their vibrant public and street art,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “There is great power in the arts and their importance is critical in preserving the historic cultural identity of the neighborhoods I represent. The MonumentArt festival 2015 brought nine walls to life in El Barrio and the South Bronx, celebrating our neighborhoods’ culture, documenting our history and capturing our imagination.”
“The creation of two murals on a huge unused space on our building is a great gift to both our school community and the broader community that walks up and down Madison Avenue every day,” said Naomi Smith, Principal of Central Park East II.
“We are very excited to partner with our co-located schools to support the creation of this mural,” said Tara Stant, principal of Success Academy Harlem 3. “We place great emphasis on the value of reading and writing, and this mural will be a constant reminder of the doors that literacy opens.”
Both schools occupy the building that held the two murals created by FAITH 47 (South Africa) and SEGO (Mexico).
“Three years ago, the Speaker first introduced us to this concept, an international urban arts festival connecting the Puerto Rican Diaspora from the island to the mainland,” said Jorge Daniel Veneciano, Executive Director, El Museo del Barrio. “El Museo is proud to continue to support the wonderful vision of the Speaker to incorporate art into public spaces around El Barrio and are looking forward to offering art-making workshops to students at the schools where these murals will be erected.”
“We are thrilled to bring the MonumentArt project back to El Barrio for a second time,” said Jose Morales, Director of La Marqueta Retoña. “In 2013, the Los Muros Hablan art festival was a huge success and went a long way in cultivating the rich, beautiful history of East Harlem. This year (2015), we are excited to bring the project to even more spaces in El Barrio and extending it to the South Bronx. We look forward to the final products and thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for the opportunity to complete such a great project in her district once again.”
“El Barrio and the South Bronx are communities that are hubs for multi-cultural diversity, vibrant history, and opportunity, said Celso Gonzalez, Artist and participant of MonumentArt. “As one of the curators of the MonumentArt project, I am excited to continue and promote that legacy with this international art festival. With 11 internationally-recognized artists completing large-scale murals throughout Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s district, we are sure that these pieces will become staples of the community and join the other incredible artwork that can be seen around El Barrio and the South Bronx. We thank the Speaker’s Office, our artists, and all of our partners who have worked collaboratively to ensure the success of this project.”
The YouTube video above features six of the large scale art works painted for the Monument Public Art Project in 2015.
The painting above, by artist Elizam Escobar, was created inside the Julia de Burgos Community Center that is also home to the nonprofit organization Taller Boricua located on Lexington Avenue at 106th Street.
The above mural painted by ROA on Lexington Avenue at 108th Street is not far from the Graffiti Hall of Fame located at the Jackie Robinson Educational Complex on 106th Street.
Artist, Luis R. Vidal painted his image (above) in October 2015. Today, almost four-years later, Citi Bikes line the front of the faded, pealing mural ~ a reminder that the mural projects are merely pop-ups, not meant to be permanent installations.
Luis R. Vidal’s mural (above) is a block away from Thomas Jefferson Park.
The above image was painted by the artist VIAJERO for the Monument Art Project in 2015. It was replaced in 2017 by a mural created by German-born artist, Andres Von Chrzanowski aka CASE Maclaim for the CASEMaclaim (below) Monument Art Project in 2017.
The Buenos Aires-artist EVER aka Nicolas Romero (mural above) has created murals worldwide from 5Pointz to the Berlin Wall. His work still overlooks the basketball court on the corner of 99th Street and Third Avenue.
Below, the underpass at 138th Street and Park Avenue in the Bronx consists of two murals by 2ATLAS (Puerto Rico).
Now, several years later and a bit faded, many of the murals are still part of the neighborhood where they were originally painted in October, 2015.
El Mac ~ Born in Los Angeles in 1980, Mac has been creating and studying art independently since childhood. His work had him commissioned to Belgium to paint his interpretations of classic Flemish Primitive paintings at the Groeninge Museum. Mac continues to balance his love of painting large scale public artworks around the world with his meticulous and time consuming creation of indoor works. The image for Monument Art Project ~ El Regalo Mágico with Cero Design.
SEGO ~ Born in Mexico City, Sego is a self-taught artist who lived for a couple of years in Oaxaca and started drawing animals that lvied in this neighborhood and much of his work has been influenced from living there and still has ties there. His murals have been seen across the globe from the United States, Puerto Rico and Latin America to Cuba and Europe.
EVER ~ Argentinian street artist Ever paints murals that cushion social criticism in a flurry of bright colors, dreamy, cloudy-like form and whimsical characters. He began his career as a graffiti writer in the streets of Argentina in the 90’s. His compositions are often vibrant in color and he has recently begun to experiment with art installations, providing commentaries on current events using stuffed animals, ping pong tables and toilets.
CERO ~ Born in Puerto Rico, Celso is a contemporary artist whose work excels in different disciplines such as painting, sculpture, murals, mosaics, architecture and film. For the last 10 years, he has been working on Commissions for the government of Puerto Rico and abroad. He has developed over 100 Public Art Projects and his work is exhibited in monumental sculptural mosaics all over the island and the world.
VIAJERO ~ Adrian Daniel Roman aka “Viajero” is a young Puerto Rican artist born and raised in New York City. Family, culture, history, and LIFE are the inspirations of Viajero’s work. Aged or grainy wood is his current canvas of choice; however he has created pieces using various paper, clay and mixed media. Many of his pieces are in private collections in the United States and Puerto Rico and have been viewed in various galleries and art shows throughout the nation.
Luis R Vidal ~ Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Luis R. Vidal majored in sociology and photojournalism. Right after graduating, he began working as a photographer for various news outlets and local newspapers. In order to widen his scope on photography and related arts he embarked to Madrid to study film editing. After more than 11 years developing as a professional in Europe, Luis is currently living in Brooklyn, NY.
2 ATLAS ~ 2Alas is an arts collective comprised of Andrew Antonaccio and Filio Gálvez. Known for their black and white linear portraits and colored geometric abstractions, the duo have become a strong force for urban art in Miami. Along with their street work, they have gained attention for their smaller studio spaces. In 2015 Gálvez and Antonaccio were invited to be part of 12th Biennale of Habana.
Elizam Escobar ~ Escobar earned his Bachelor Degree in Art from the University of Puerto Rico and continued his studies at the City University of New York, the Brooklyn Museum and the New York Art Students League. He worked as a cartoonist and as a teacher at several public schools and the Art School at EL Museo del Barrio.
FAITH47 ~ Faith47 is an internationally-acclaimed street and studio-based artist from Cape Town, South Africa. Following an active street art career spanning more than 15 years, her work can now be found in major cities around the world. Using a wide range of media, her approach is explorative and substrate appropriate – from found and rescued objects, to time-layered and history-textured city walls and their accretions, to studio-prepared canvas and wood. Through her work, Faith47 attempts to disarm the strategies of global realpolitik, in order to advance the expression of personal truth.
ROA ~ ROA is the pseudonym of a graffiti artist from Ghent, Belgium. He has created works on the streets of cities across Europe, the United States, Australia and New Zealand. ROA generally paints wild/urban animals and birds that are native to the area being painted. ROA usually uses a minimal color pallet, such as black, white and red, but also creates works using vibrant colors depicting flesh and/or internal systems within the animals and birds.
The first MonumentArt Project was held in 2013 ~ the third was held in 2017.
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