Press Release: New Mural Unveiled at Brownsville Supportive Housing Complex

Vital Brookdale Mural

Photo and Video: The New York Foundling Mural Celebrating Community, Doctors and Activists in New Mural Unveiled at Brownsville Supportive Housing Complex

See photos and video of the mural being installed here

Brownsville, NY (May 20, 2024) — The New York Foundling today unveiled Colors of My City, a mural at Vital Brookdale, the non-profit’s recently built supportive housing complex in Brownsville, Brooklyn. The nearly 1,000 square-foot mural was designed and painted by artist Layqa Nuna Yawar and has been installed across the street from Vital Brookdale on a brick wall of neighboring Brookdale Hospital.

Colors of My City celebrates Brownsville with portraits of physicians, activists and neighbors, alongside everyday landmarks like the Brooklyn Bridge and nearby 3 train. One of its subjects, Patricia, is a resident of Vital Brookdale, where 36 people with developmental disabilities and young people exiting foster care live and receive wrap-around services as part of a larger affordable housing project. Patricia is pictured crocheting a blanket, one of her passions, and a symbol of “home.”

Layqa developed the mural based on workshops with residents at Vital Brookdale and their neighbors. He is best known for large-scale community-based murals, intricate portrait paintings, and multimedia projects that center around the complex narratives of black, immigrant and indigenous populations.

“Our residents at Vital Brookdale deserved something beautiful, something that honored them and the whole neighborhood. I am so excited to see Layqa’s finished mural in a place where people can reflect on it on their walk to work, or sitting on a bench in our courtyard. Colors of My City will become a community landmark,” said Melanie Hartzog, President and CEO of The New York Foundling.

“I am so proud of this mural. I love its intimate, personal moments, like Patricia crocheting her beautiful blanket. We spent a lot of time talking to this community about who and what people wanted to see reflected in this wall. I hope that they look up at it every day and see themselves,” said artist Layqa Nuna Yawar.

Opened in 2022, Vital Brookdale serves two distinct groups that often experience obstacles to living independently: young people aging out of foster care and adults with developmental disabilities. Vital Brookdale builds upon The Foundling’s existing supportive housing and developmental disabilities residential programming to provide private apartments to participants that are ready to live on their own through supplemental services that ensure a successful transition into the next chapter of their lives. Learn more about Vital Brookdale and The New York Foundling’s work in the Brooklyn community here.

About the Artist:

Layqa Nuna Yawar (b. 1984, Cuenca Ecuador) is a public artist and multidisciplinary storyteller based in the ancestral lands of the Lenni-Lenape: current-day Newark, NJ. His work is best known for large-scale community-based murals, intricate portrait paintings, and multimedia projects that center the complex narratives of immigrant, black, indigenous, and subaltern populations. His artwork aims to disrupt established semiotic systems and reimagine them in service of shared liberation and a better future.

Layqa’s name is an invention that honors the Kichwa-Kañari legacy of his descent. His practice is driven by the act of reclaiming history as well as the inherent rupture and repair of the immigrant experience. His work exists at the intersection between migrant alienation and belonging, cross-cultural identity and decolonization, and between the private and the public realms.

His work has been recently commissioned by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and Munich Airport NJ, in partnership with Public Art Fund and can be permanently found at the new Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport. His collaborative work is also now on view at MoMA PS1 in New York City. Other Recent awards include an Artist Impact Award from the Newark Museum of Art, Monument Lab Research Residency, a Creative Catalyst Fund Fellowship by the City of Newark, an Art Changemaker Award from the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, and a Moving Walls Fellowship by Open Society Foundations among others. Layqa has held multiple teaching residencies, including projects with the United Nations World Food Programme, Casita Maria, and currently teaches at Rutgers University. His murals can be found in cities and communities around the world.

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