Artist Chinon Maria at the World Trade Center’s New Gallery
“CREATING PUBLIC ART in the World Trade Center has been one of the most humbling and emotional experiences of my life,” says Colombian-born street artist Chinon Maria at the World Trade Center
Chinon has four large-scale murals that call the World Trade Center home. Her latest, One World, Our Childrenwill be placed at the future site of 5 WTC and features faces of nine refugee girls from around the globe. Maria asked 1,500 children from 40 countries to mail drawings and descriptions of their dreams for the future, which she incorporated into the mural, with the help of 350 local student volunteers.
Drawing Inspiration Worldwide
“I like to think New York has a place for all these cultures, and all these ideas that I love from all over the world,” Chinon explains. “My artwork is vibrant, colorful, hopeful with an underlining message of unity, healing, and social activism.”
Chinon’s high-energy work has been comissioned for public spaces around the world, and always within her preferred medium—public domain.
“Public art is so important to me, that accessibility, you can’t put a price tag on it,” she says. “It has the ability to actually change space with positive reinforcement and the resurgance of hopeful attitudes.
Taking It Home to New York
“While new projects take her to Mexico and beyond, it’s in lower Manhattan where she feels most at home and spiritually connected.
“In Downtown, you can walk on any block and at any moment you can see people from all over the world and that’s, for me, really inspiring as an artist.”
Art’s transformative power is especially meaningful to Maria’s downtown work., as she aims to positive contribute to the area’s rebirth.
“Art has a power to bring together people from different cultures to identify with a piece of work, to enjoy a piece by just being able to see it on the street and getting the community involved,” Chinon says.
Murals at 4 World Trade Center
To do just this for 4 World Trade Center, Chinon wanted her mural to depict the rich history of New York City in an inviting way, and also sat down with children from the community to talk about the future of the city.
“It was not only 9/11, the tragedy that happened here,” she says. “There were so many other things that have made this city what it is today—good and bad—so I wanted to make sure we could honor that through a piece of artwork.”
“To end it on a hopeful note, I worked with community children to say the future of New York City is going to be bright, and beautiful, and filled with diversity and color.”
Visit the work of artist Chinon Maria at the World Trade Center at wtgallery.com/chinon-maria