NEW YORK – To commemorate the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, which struck a year ago last week, Groundswell, the organization that pairs street art with youth development, collaborated with Swoon to create a series of murals in Sandy-affected areas around the city, with the final mural now up on the Bowery and Houston Wall. The others went up in Coney Island, Red Hook, Far Rockaway and Staten Island.
The Greek sea goddess Thalassa, a frequent Swoon subject, forms the center of the mural. In this version, she’s a modern goddess, with a combination of blond curls and cornrows, as well amazing hoop earrings. She’s rising up out of a sea of faces, buildings and flowers flowing in the shape of a wave. They’re in shades of red, black, blue and pink, all the vibrant colors of the city. While at first glance it looks like these people and places are being swept away by the wave, just like Thalassa, they’re actually rising above it. A message to rise above the challenge floats in the background.
As with other Groundswell projects, like the Atlantic Avenue mural I covered over the summer, this one was created with help from teens in the affected communities. It’s a particularly healing exercise for downtown Manhattan, as it remembers the days in the dark last year, but also a reminder that while the hurricane hit us a year ago, many parts of the city are still putting the pieces back together.
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