NEW YORK – A team of children stenciled in black and white look up in awe at a sky that is raining candy colored drops, their mouths open in wonder. They’re painted on the side of South Williamsburg club TBA. When I first observed the children, on a walk across the Williamsburg Bridge, I thought they were scared, or even just confused by the colorful rain. On closer inspection, however, their faces seemed filled with joy. Their smiles are contagious, enough to convince passersby that perhaps there is candy falling from the sky.
My glimpse of the work came at a bittersweet time. The creators of the mural, Icy and Sot, are stencil artists and brothers from Iran. They’re part of the same wave of immigration that brought their hometown friends the bands Yellow Dogs and Free Keys to New York City in search of creative and personal freedom. The Yellow Dogs and Free Keys have sadly made headlines recently with the murder of three band members by a fellow Iranian immigrant.
Much of Icy and Sot’s work features subjects with their eyes closed or covered in some way. In this mural, even though many of the children are looking up, you can see their eyes for the first time, which I’d like to think means they are no longer afraid.
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