By Naeisha Rose
Queens artist Yvonne Shortt celebrated immigrants with a sculpture installation at Dunningham Triangle in Elmhurst, according to the Queens Council on the Arts (QCA).
Shortt is a Forest Hills resident who grew up in Jamaica and Far Rockaway and has an art studio in Rego Park, the QCA reported.
The “What We Carry” art installation located at the park at 82nd Street and Baxter Avenue was inspired by Shortt’s conversations with immigrants over a series of days at the Triangle, QCA said in a Nov. 20 announcement.
“We may come to the United States in a variety of ways, but once we come, we are the foundation for our community,” said Shortt. “We carry our stories and history when we leave one place, and form new traditions once we arrive. Whether we were forced to come or come on our own, from us flourishes strength, hope, and unlimited possibility.”
The first part of the installation is a sculpture of a silhouetted woman adorned in cut out designs illustrating the journey of those who come by plane, water and land, holding a bowl that symbolizes what binds immigrants, their family and community, according to QCA.
The second part of the installation is comprised of flowers fabricated in wood and hung around a fence, meant to communicate togetherness and collaboration instead of the traditional notion of boundaries.
The flowers were co-created by community members at workshops, the QCA noted. Shortt also received support for the art installation by artists Joel Esquite and Makuyo Fujino, the Jackson Heights community that borders the Dunningham Triangle, and NYC Parks.
Shortt was an awardee of Queens Council on the Arts’ ArtSite program, which is an initiative that empowers local artists to engage communities and produce work on the local level, according to QCA.
“This community art initiative, ‘What We Carry,’ celebrates immigrants through a collaborative aluminum sculpture installation, and employs wood flower sculptures to represent the positive force we bring to our communities,” said Shortt. “Its co-creative process provides a creative platform for everyone in the community, with or without artistic training, and empowers them to have a voice in public art.”
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose