Mariposas Amarillas, La Isla Bonita Series

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It started as a long, routinely unattractive chain-link fence at a corner not far from the waterfront on a large chunk of city property.

The 1,400 square feet of nothingness at Richmond Terrace and Jewett Avenue is being transformed into a work of art — with thousands of wings.

Here’s how:
Port Richmond artist Lina Montoya is constructing an art installation called “Mariposas Amarillas, (Yellow Butterflies). The piece will include more than 15,000 plastic yellow butterflies and 10,00 blue plastic cups.

Here’s why:
She’s being helped by volunteers to complete a work that’s aimed at representing the influx of foreign-born residents to the North Shore community. Work will continue on the project throughout the next two weeks and others are welcome to help.

Here’s who:
Ms. Montoya, a native of Colombia, is working with the city Department of Transportation’s Art Program in partnership with El Centro del Inmigrante, Project Urbanista.

A work of art with wings, and a meaning

Pictures by Julieta Morales @vabemor

It was looked like magic had transformed a gritty corner in Port Richmond. At the intersection of Jewett Avenue and Richmond Terrace, Graniteville artist Lina Montoya, using sunshine yellow and bright, breathtaking blue, created an installation that symbolizes freedom, hope and the immigrant experience in the Big City.

At the heart of the vision are 18,000 yellow, palm-sized plastic butterflies and 10,000 blue plastic cups all tucked into the spaces of the chain link fence surrounding the city Department of Transportation (DOT) building. The exhibit titled, “Mariposas Amarillas” (Yellow Butterflies), involved the work of dozens of volunteers who placed the pieces just so to create what appears from the distance –- across a 1,400 square foot span of fence — as a larger-than-life vision of the New York City skyline.

18,000 yellow ‘butterflies’ turn drab intersection into uplifting vision of the world


Vaya Guacamaya

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Located at Castleton Avenue and Port Richmond Avenue. This piece was created with the support and hands of Rigoberto Fabian, Homero Herrera, Arlette Cepeda, Melissa Mejia, Mr. Bob and Jeff Rodriguez.

Vaya Guacamaya by Ele Eme

Mariposas Amarillas Video

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The NYC Department of Transportation Art Program partnered with El Centro del Inmigrante to present Staten Island-based artist Lina Montoya’s Las Mariposas Amarillas (The Yellow Butterflies) on the chain-link fence surrounding a DOT facility at Richmond Terrace and Jewett Avenue in Staten Island. Butterflies are a central image of migration and a symbol used in the struggle for migrant rights worldwide. Montoya zip tied over 18,000 vinyl butterflies onto the chain-link fence creating a whimsical wave. Behind and between the butterflies, Montoya created the Manhattan as viewed from Staten Island by popping in 10,000 plastic cups directly into the chain-link fence weave. The design concept was developed in conversations with members of El Centro and the broader Port. This piece is part of a larger body of work by Montoya entitled, La Isla Bonita (the Beautiful Island).

NYCDOT Art Program, Community Commissions. Las Mariposas Amarillas, Lina Montoya in partnership with El Centro del Inmigrante, located at Richmond Terrace and Jewett Avenue, Staten Island, New York.

Gallery & Pictures by New York City Department of Transportation

14542484326_54da95b3eb_oThanks to Wagner College for the video. Camera: Anna Mule. Edition: Allie Calascibetta. Special thanks to Sarah Scott.


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