New sculpture at Brooklyn Bridge Park sends message about the southern border

Nicholas Galanin's sculpture in Brooklyn Bridge Park, titled 'In every language there is Land / En cada lengua hay una Tierra.'
Nicholas Galanin’s sculpture ‘In every language there is Land / En cada lengua hay una Tierra.’
Photo by Nicholas Knight

A massive new sculpture has landed in Brooklyn Bridge Park, calling attention to the separation, violence and segregation that occurs in the country’s southern border.

The 30-foot-tall artwork, which reads “LAND,” was created by indigenous Alaskan artist Nicholas Galanin, and resides at the foot of Brooklyn’s namesake bridge where it will be seen by thousands of visitors every day. 

The metal that Galanin sourced to build the piece is the same as the construction materials of the wall that lives on the border between the United States and Mexico, which has been the site of the infamous child separation policy, and a major source of tragedy and tension amid the ongoing migrant crisis

Land on brooklyn bridge park
“Nicholas Galanin has developed one of the most distinctive and powerful bodies of work in contemporary North  American art,” Said Nicholas Baume, Public Art Fund artistic and executive director. “His first public project for New York City, promises to be a major cultural event.” Photo by Nicholas Knight

Galanin, whose previous work includes the piece “Never Forget” in the mountains of California’s Palm Springs, named the new Brooklyn Bridge Park sculpture “In every language there is Land / En cada lengua hay una Tierra” as a message of equality, and to encourage people to reflect on their connection with the land.

“Since New York is a historical entry of diversity into the US, the place is ideal for the piece,” said the sculptor as he pointed out how in the 17th century Wall Street had a wall erected by Dutch settlers to keep out indigenous residents. “What is happening at the border with Mexico is also happening at the border between Alaska and Canada. Families and tribes are being separated and the land is being exploited for political interests.”

inside of galanin's Land sculpture
Inside of Galanin’s sculpture. Photo by Nicholas Knight

“People don’t need me to remind them of the horrors that occurred during the Trump administration,” he said. “But we do often forget to be empathetic with those who live in different circumstances and with the environment around us.”

Galanin used the initiatives presented through the Biden Administration to develop and continue drilling for fossil fuels in Alaska, as an example of how an unentitled perception of land ownership affects communities and ecosystems.

“Indigenous care for land and community is rooted in a connection based on sustainability,” he said. “This perspective always embodies a deep respect for life beyond any single generation rather than for nationalism or capital. In every language, there is Land / En cada lengua hay una Tierra’ questions barriers to land, which directly reflect barriers to love, love for Land, community, and future generations.”

For more coverage of art and Brooklyn Bridge Park, head to BrooklynPaper.com.