Arts & Entertainment

Spanish painter creates 9/11-inspired mural near Ground Zero

By Ruth E.Hernandez Beltran

New York, Sep 12 (EFE).- Spanish painter and sculptor Cristobal Gabarron has created a mural in Manhattan that was inspired by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and commemorates the 21st anniversary of that fateful day.

The work was part of the Ambito initiative, which the Gabarron Foundation is carrying out over a 24-month period in different countries to mark 30 years since the founding of that New York-based institution.

The mural was painted at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, near where the former World Trade Center complex once stood (and where a mostly completed new complex of buildings are being constructed).

New York served as the venue for the artist’s fourth Ambito event and the only one chosen in the United States.

That initiative in the Big Apple reflects on 9/11 as a turning point in human history and on the lasting importance of those events for the people who live in that country and their artistic community, according to the foundation.

The artist spent two hours Sunday painting the mural on a giant 3 x 9 meter (10 x 29 foot) canvas while a multidisciplinary dance, poetry, choral and music program was performed by faculty and students.

As soon as the chorus began singing, the artist started the mural with an initial stroke of blue on the left side of the canvas.

The work then gradually filled up with different colors and shapes as around 50 people, including a 2007 co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics, Erik Maskin, looked on.

“I still don’t have a name (for the work). I have an idea,” the painter told Efe.

The mural consists of various figures, including a pair of blue and green circles in the middle that represent the heads of strangers who came together amid the tragedy.

“Tragedy brings out our loves,” Gabarron said.

The destroyed towers are represented in a blur of smoke-like black and white near the upper left corner of the canvas, while shades of blue and green water from two memorial pools built at the Ground Zero site rise vertically in the bottom left.

“The world changed, and that’s a little of what I’m trying to have here,” the artist said while putting the finishing touches on a work whose figures also included a giant heart.

Gabarron’s presence at the community college was made possible by Guillermo Linares, president of the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation, who began fostering a relationship with the Gabarron Foundation while serving between 2004 and 2009 as commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.

“It’s wonderful,” said the chancellor of the City University of New York, Felix Rodriguez Matos, who gave the go-ahead for Linares’ proposal to commemorate the 21st 9/11 anniversary in this way. EFE


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