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MTA Arts & Design


135th Street

Willie Birch

Harlem Timeline, 1995

Glass mosaic on platform walls

Harlem Timeline serves as a tribute to Harlem luminaries. In this expansive mosaic mural, they are seen mingling with neighborhood residents. On the downtown platform, we see Reverend Adam Clayton Powell Jr., Langston Hughes, Joe Louis, and Charlie Parker in action. The blues - both the musical form and the color - are represented on the uptown side, with Billie Holiday, bathed in indigo. Elsewhere, Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, Paul Robeson, John Coltrane, and Thelonious Monk express themselves, rejoining the community where the Harlem Renaissance all began. Some of the visual references that Birch weaves into the work are African-American quilts, textile designs of Mexico and Africa, and visionary folk art.

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