On a saunter around Downtown a couple of Saturdays ago, photographer Jefferson Siegel found a lot going on, from the park (pogoing and painting) to the streets (an Astor Place art installation and models blocking traffic).
As for the art installation on Astor Place between Broadway and Lafayette Street, it’s courtesy of the nearby Swiss Institute, at 38 St. Mark’s Place, in partnership with the Village Alliance business improvement district and the Department of Transportation’s Art Program.
Called “QUESTIONS,” by Abigail Reyes, the piece considers journeys and migration, asking questions in Spanish like, “Where are you going?” “Who did you leave there?” and “We’re not waiting for you.”
According to Reyes, depending on who is saying them in what context, these brief questions or statements regarding transit can create or reveal a power relation. For the artist, these phrases point toward questions of origin, starting points and senses of belonging to geographical or symbolic places.
Reyes took the photographs for this project on the CA-2 road in El Salvador this past July and August. The route connects El Salvador with other Central American countries and is one of the main paths that immigrants take to leave the country.
The phrases are made using the colors of the national flags of Central American countries, which all contain blue and white.
“My purpose is to reflect on the paths that undocumented people take to get to the United States of America, to New York City, to Astor Place,” Reyes said. “I want to examine the ways in which Central Americans migrate, and it is my hope that immigrants will read the posters and recognize their own experiences in the words.”