Artist Rico Gatson created a series of eight portraits entitled, Beacons, for the 167 St station. The portraits feature renowned figures of history and culture, sourced from photographs and translated into glass mosaic. Beacons is a celebration of the energy and spirit of individuals who have been influential within the Bronx community and have received positive acclaim for their cultural, political and artistic contributions.
The eight figures highlighted in Gatson’s artwork include Gil Scott-Heron, Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Audre Lorde, James Baldwin, Maya Angelou, Reggie Jackson and Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Gatson juxtaposes the black and white portraits with hard-edge geometric lines using a palette of red, orange, yellow, black, grey, and green, which act as a metaphor for beaming light.
The portraits radiate with beauty and pride of these influential figures, and invite travelers to reflect on the past as well as find inspiration for the future. The station’s mosaic murals are an extension of Gatson’s earlier “Icons” series, showing new ways to present biography and photography in a contemporary, bold and graphic way. Gatson’s artwork reveals a mix of influences -- performance, conceptualism, minimalism and constructivism, to name a few-- which are combined with an interest in history and representation.
Southbound platform artwork credits (L to R)
Gil Scott-Heron portrait derived from a photograph by Paul Natkin
Audre Lorde portrait derived from a photograph by Jack Mitchell
Celia Cruz portrait derived from a photograph owned by Celia Cruz Entertainment LLC
James Baldwin portrait derived from a photograph by Steve Schapiro
Northbound platform artwork credits (L to R)
Justice Sonia Sotomayor portrait derived from a photograph by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders
Reggie Jackson portrait derived from a photograph by Doug McWilliams/ National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
Tito Puente portrait derived from a photograph by Martin Cohen
Maya Angelou portrait derived from a photograph by Brian Lanker.
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