Wall of sound: Twin murals celebrate music and bicycling

Getting in gear: Apolo Torres recently completed this giant image of a bicycle in the Pearl Street tunnel in Dumbo.
Clara Schuhmacher

All in all, it’s just another bike on the wall!

A Brazilian artist has painted a pair of murals at the entryway to Dumbo, one showing the gears of a gigantic bicycle, and the other depicting a man playing the trumpet. The images show two things that United States and Brazil have in common, said the artist behind the images.

“I wanted to express things we have in common in both cultures, and to celebrate them,” said Apolo Torres, who finished the murals on Aug. 6, with backing from the city’s Department of Transportation, the Dumbo Improvement District, Brasil Summerfest, and Urban Walls Brazil.

The images decorate each side of the Pearl Street tunnel beneath the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, between Prospect and York streets.

Torres’s hometown of Sao Paolo is filled with chaotic traffic, said the artist, but using a bicycle to get around can make it bearable. The giant image of a bike — and the biking child in the background — represent his hope that more people will embrace two-wheeled transportation.

“It’s really liberating to move around using a bicycle. It’s my way of representing a look into the future … and my hope that we will be able to have more friendly cities, both to the environment and to our people,” he said in a statement.

On the opposite wall, the image “Heritage I (Music)” represents the shared European and African lineage behind music in each country, he said.

“By mixing African rhythms with European instruments and harmonies, Americans created jazz and Brazilians created samba,” said Torres. “My intention with the musical mural is to celebrate the strength of our musical heritage.”

The executive director of the Dumbo Improvement District praised the colorful mural, one of many the organization has commissioned in the neighborhood.

“Dumbo has decades of art history, and we love the way people continue to interact with the massive murals on the BQE,” said Alexandria Sica. “It’s gorgeous, moving, and represents a really amazing partnership with the artists of Brazil.”

“Heritage I (Cycling)” and “Heritage II (Music)” on Pearl Street between Prospect and York streets in Dumbo. They will be on display through August, 2020.

Reach arts editor Bill Roundy at broundy@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–4507.
Blown away: The giant trumpet player and drumming kids in Apolo Torres’s mural “Heritage I (Music)” represent the shared heritage that led to samba in Brazil, and jazz in the United States.
Clara Schuhmacher

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