Beautiful Migration

  • The monumental mosaic is in the shape of a mother elephant and her calf. Butterflies float around the pair, tracing the curves of the school’s entrance.
  • The team works closely together to lay down the tiles of their mosaic.
  • A participant works on tiles for plants. The mural’s vines and roots illustrate humanity’s link to the earth and are a reminder of a collective history. The process of growing corn represents transformation and nutrition.
  • A small, completed section of the mosaic illustrates the level of detail involved.
  • Voices Her’d is not only an opportunity for a group of young women to create art together, but for them to form strong friendships with their peers.
  • Included on the head of the elephant calf is eco-feminist and Nobel Prize winner Wangari Mathaai panting trees. Also in the mosaic is activist and environmentalist Julia Butterfly-Hill, perched in a tree.

Project Description

Through Groundswell’s Voices Her’d Visionaries program, a team of young women created a large-scale mosaic in response to urban environmental issues. The mosaic also pays tribute to women associated with the earth. The participants began the project by contemplating the notion that all actions are linked, and that this directly connects us, as individuals and communities, to nature. Within the silhouettes are images of female figures from mythology and history that are associated with the earth. The animals and plants were carefully chosen for their symbolic weight. The artists were drawn to elephants because they are revered as symbols of serenity, strength, wisdom, and a deep connection to the earth. The baby elephant represents the future, and the butterflies symbolize the cycle of cause and effect. In addition to addressing international concerns, “Beautiful Migration” uses symbols relevant to the local community. Sunset Park, where the piece is located, is home to a strong immigrant community. The white brick walls represent national borders, and the holes in them represent migration across borders, as does the boat in the river.

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Project Info

Location: 59th Street and 4th Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11220

Fun Facts

Suggested Activity
Cut up differently colored construction paper into 1-inch squares. Glue these squares down to another piece of paper to create a mosaic collage of your own.
Fun Fact
Included in the mosaic is the recycling symbol. The internationally-recognized symbol was designed by Gary Anderson, a college student, who won a contest meant to raise awareness about recycling in colleges and schools.
The goddess Isis. Standing for all goddesses of the earth, the Egyptian goddess Isis is represented by the eagle at the top of the composition.