ArtSite Awardee, Yvonne Shortt Installs
What We Carry in Dunningham Triangle, Elmhurst
Queens artist, Yvonne Shortt, with the help of NYC Parks, artists Joel Esquite and Mayuko Fujino, along with the Jackson Heights Community, recently installed the sculptural installation What We Carry in Dunningham Triangle, celebrating immigrants.
“We may come to the United States in a variety of ways, but once we come, we are the foundation for our community. We carry our stories and history when we leave one place, and form new traditions once we arrive. Whether we were forced to come or come on our own, from us flourishes strength, hope, and unlimited possibility. This community art initiative, “What We Carry,” celebrates immigrants through a collaborative aluminum sculpture installation, and employs wood flower sculptures to represent the positive force we bring to our communities. Its co-creative process provides a creative platform for everyone in the community, with or without artistic training, and empowers them to have a voice in public art.” – Yvonne Shortt
What We Carry celebrates immigrants through a two-part installation. The first element, an aluminum sculpture of a silhouetted woman, is adorned with cut-out designs illustrating the journey of those who come by plane, water, and land. She holds a bowl that symbolizes what binds all of us: our family and our community. A series of flowers comprises the second part of the installation. The flowers were co-created by the community members at the collaborative workshops, then fabricated in wood and hung around the iron fence, which traditionally sets boundaries but here communicates a sense of togetherness and collaboration.
In order to capture the stories of immigration in Jackson Heights, Shortt sat in Dunningham Triangle over a series of days speaking and listening to those community members passing through and enjoying the park.
“My family came by boat but I thought by listening to others I could incorporate other influences into the piece. Sitting in the park I learned how some came by plane and others by land. I think it’s so important to remember that in many cases, one doesn’t leave everything behind unless where they are leaving is worse.” -Yvonne Shortt
A key goal of ArtSite is to empower local artists to engage on a local level, understanding that they can be a catalyst for change. QCA, along with its partners, the Jamaica Center BID in Jamaica and the 82nd Street BID in Jackson Heights, seek to create a self-sustaining supportive art culture in these communities.
This program has been supported by the Queens Council on the Arts with funds from NYS Regional Economic Development Council in partnership with the New York State Council on the Arts, with additional support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
Special thanks to the 82nd Street Partnership and NYC Parks.