Lady Liberty and New Immigrants on the Street

Statue of Liberty Inspires Street Artists in New York

The colossal creamy green neoclassical sculpture named Lady Liberty (Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi) has been greeting visitors and welcoming immigrants since it was erected in the middle of New York Harbor in the late 1800s and when Brooklyn was still a separate city from Manhattan.

As we approach Independence Day in the US (July 4th) we look at this beacon of liberty and freedom – and we’d like to add “hope” for those that seek a better life. In a country and a city of immigrants, New York is the true melting pot and it is on these streets that we all walk upon where it all still begins. “While there is no precise count, some experts believe New York is home to as many as 800 languages,” said the New York Times in an article about our native tongues, and 175 or so of those languages are what new immigrant children bring to our schools and play grounds and streets every day.

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LMNOPI (photo © Jaime Rojo)

While the president speaks again this week about making this country a fair place for immigrants who have added to our collective wealth as a diverse people, we look again to the words on the statue’s plaque that have welcomed the many for 120 years.

“Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

In New York at least, it is no surprise that Street Artists continue to draw inspiration from Lady Liberty and we mark this holiday week and weekend by sharing with you a few that have brought their interpretation to the streets.

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Tristan Eaton for The L.I.S.A. Project. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ever comedic Street Artist Dont Fret takes a current twist on the theme. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Damien Mitchell holds an aerosol can where the torch usually is. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Pí̱gasos  merges Marilyn Monroe with Lady Liberty (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Zed1 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Miss Me speaks here of the historical Americans, to whom the new arrivals looked like immigrants. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

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