“We are number one!” That’s the main takeaway residents are getting from the extended arm with a finger pointed up, CBSN New York’s Nina Kapur reported Monday.
The bronze sculpture, called “Unity,” was put up on Saturday right near the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge.
So why this one? Well, the Department of Cultural Affairs, which funded the sculpture, took to Twitter to offer an explanation.
Introducing NYC’s newest work of permanent public art: Hank Willis Thomas’ “Unity.” The 22.5 foot sculpture echoes the Statue of Liberty’s iconic gesture & captures the unique spirit of Brooklyn as a place of uplift & ambition. Commissioned by the City’s Percent for Art program. pic.twitter.com/DqdIk8oIQL
— NYC Cultural Affairs (@NYCulture) November 9, 2019
The artist, Hank Willis Thomas, a New Yorker, himself, said he was thrilled and honored at the opportunity to install his first permanent public art sculpture in the city he’s from. But of course, like any work of art, the meaning is up for interpretation. While some said they see “Unity,” others, well, not so much.
“It’s different. It’s cool. I like the way it looks. It’s bringing a different feel to the area,” Brooklyn resident Kai Halos said.
“It looks like everything is going to be up, number one, you’re going to rock this,” Malik Reed added.
“I have some challenges with it. Cultural interpretations are so important,” added Kate Sweeney. “Well, if you think about the idea of number one, it’s exclusionary. It’s somebody is better than somebody else.”
Some even drew comparisons to ISIS propaganda, similarly of a finger pointed towards the sky. To that, the artist said art reflects the thoughts of the interpreter, adding he hopes many see light and use the opportunity to pause, reflect and look upwards in life.