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MTA Arts & Design


Avenue U

Sally Gil

Edges of a South Brooklyn Sky, 2018

Glass mosaic

At the Avenue U station, on the Sea Beach line, Brooklyn-based artist Sally Gil created a series of fourteen mosaics entitled Edges of a South Brooklyn Sky. Reflecting on the Gravesend neighborhood where the Avenue U station is located, Gil used her poetic style to re-interpret and re-situate recognizable places and objects found throughout the area. Each of the fourteen mosaic panels whimsically represents Gravesend, and the diverse communities living there past and present.

There are seven mosaics on each of the station’s platforms, each containing a roving skyline and depicting familiar structures and things, such as Italian rainbow cookies, a quail egg, a Mexican Concha cookie, railroad tracks, and even the station house at the Avenue U subway entrance. Local architectural structures are placed close to the center line of all fourteen mosaics, because, as Gil says, “the horizon line is where the business of living happens.” Concurrently the myriad objects, representing the rich social texture of the multiethnic Gravesend community, float amidst the day and night skies. This is where, as Gil says, “the internal life lives, all the complex and mystifying contemplations that move us.” The day and night skies are reversed in form and concept across the platforms, helping to situate daily commuters in time and space, as they leave from and arrive back to the Avenue U station.

Sally Gil uses painting and mixed media collage to make her artworks. For the Avenue U station, her fourteen, original mixed media pieces were fabricated in glass mosaic by Mosaicos Venezianos de México. Gil worked closely the mosaicists to replicate her small scale works into the fourteen large scale mosaic murals now permanently located along the platforms. As riders move through the Edges of a South Brooklyn Sky, artist Sally Gil reminds us that, “every day we are making our place in the world, and the subway is the conduit that transports us. We live on a physical plane, while dwelling in our thoughts and imaginations -- the world of our own stories. Ultimately I believe, although from differing places, we all want the same things: To live peacefully, with what we need and want".

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