Leaders and activists representing Hispanic and African-American communities of New York City gathered on 42nd Street in Manhattan on March 17th to demand the removal of a mural installed in the area, around the corner from Times Square.
The mural, a 92 feet long by 12 feet high acrylic on plywood work by Sofia Maldonado is mounted on a construction site fence between Broadway and 8th Avenue in one of the most visited areas of the city. It depicts a group of Hispanic and African-American women.
In an open letter to the Board of Directors of the Times Square Alliance,. protesters claim the mural "is unaceptable" as it "depicts African American and Hispanic women in a negative light". "Not one business or professional woman is represented in the mural for balance" the release claims. "This art is an affront to all the hardworking Black and Latino women who struggle to maintain their dignity in a world that feels there is no repercussions for disrespecting them", The letter, distributed among protesters and passers-by, also states the mural "is depicting...women as cheap looking".
Maldonado, a Puerto Rican born mural painter and Pratt Institute graduate. is quoted on the Tmes Square Alliance website as saying “My artwork intends and aims to represent brave, strong, and tough women who have to overcome struggles in their daily lives and sometimes impose themselves in a male-dominated world. In a post-feminist society these women can own their bodies in a powerful way without being depicted negatively."
Maldonado wanted her work to "represent a female aesthetic that normally isn't seen in Times Square. Women who dress like this should be respected in society the same way as women with briefcases."
The plan is to display the mural until April 30, 2010.
I took these photos on 42nd Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue in New York City, on March 17th, 2010.