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New Visions for Iris
Photograph: Nicholas Knight, Courtesy of Public Art Fund

A new public art exhibit is taking over 200 NYC bus shelters

Catch it through June 20.

By
Anna Ben Yehuda
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New York City bus riders may have noticed a sprinkle of art adorning their daily commutes in the past few weeks, specifically in the form of photographs displayed across 200 bus shelters all over the city. The shots are part of a new public art exhibition by Los Angeles-based, Ethiopian American artist Awol Erizku. Dubbed "New Visions for Iris," the city-wide exhibit will stay put through June 20.

Dedicated to the artist's one-year-old daughter and curated by the Public Art Fund, the photos tackle all sorts of subject matter, from race and identity to religion and spirituality. Specifically, the show focuses African symbols and modern takes on the Muslim religion.

"Erizku updates traditional Western art historical genres of portraiture and still life with a diverse array of motifs and references, including Egyptian symbols, musical instruments, flowers, birds, and quiet moments of men in prayer or contemplation," reads an official press release about the city-wide show. "One still-life composition speaks to the crisis of mass-incarceration, incorporating prison attire but also the Quran and other signs of spiritual renewal and hope. A sensitive portrait of Michael Brown Sr. captures the tragic legacy of police violence. Optimism for the next generation is expressed in still lifes with toys and letterforms. Erizku also depicts the inspiration that is found through prayer, dialogue, art, and global connection, portraying objects like wax casts of African masks, the shape of the continent transformed into a cake, trumpets and fruit arranged like an altar, and majestic birds that, for Erizku, evoke Black individuals as masters of their own destiny."

The exhibit takes place across all five boroughs and throughout over 150 bus shelters in Chicago, but New Yorkers will notice a higher concentration of the images in the Bronx, where Erizku was raised. You can actually browse through all the dedicated locations on this map right here, which also highlights details about each installed photo and the stories behind them. 

Check out some shots of the exhibit right here:

New Visions for Iris
Photograph: Nicholas Knight, Courtesy of Public Art Fund
New Visions for Iris
Photograph: Nicholas Knight, Courtesy of Public Art Fund
New Visions for Iris
Photograph: Nicholas Knight, Courtesy of Public Art Fund
New Visions for Iris
Photograph: Nicholas Knight, Courtesy of Public Art Fund
New Visions for Iris
Photograph: Nicholas Knight, Courtesy of Public Art Fund
New Visions for Iris
Photograph: Nicholas Knight, Courtesy of Public Art Fund

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