The High Line is a perfect display of what makes NYC so special: using the old and the new to create one-of-a-kind parts of a historical but modern city.
The park is built on an elevated freight train line from the 1930s, which is now a bustling green space with beautiful gardens, performances, community activities and delicious food. And, fantastic art pieces. It’s like its own walkable, outdoor (free!) museum.
The High Line boasts many murals, sculptures, installations and performance art pieces, from world-renowned artists in all different stages of their careers. It’s actually the only park in New York City with a dedicated multimedia contemporary art program.
And the newest piece to be added to the mix is “The Baayfalls” by artist Jordan Casteel, who is best known for her portraiture conveying the detailed facial expressions and mannerisms of people she observes.
The mural is a blown-up version of her 2017 painting of the same name. It shows Fallou, a woman the artist befriended during her residency at The Studio Museum in Harlem, along with her brother Baaye Demba Sow. The two are shown at the table outside the museum where Fallou sells her handmade hats. When Fallou’s brother arrived from Senegal, Casteel asked them to sit for a portrait. The title of the work comes from Baye Fall, a sect of the Sufi brotherhood Mouride that Fallou’s brother is a part of.
The portrait brings a piece of the Harlem sidewalk to the Chelsea section of the park, “connecting public spaces of different neighborhoods across the city,” a statement from the High Line reads. “Through her portraiture, Casteel adds deeply nuanced expressions of human experience to the expanding collection of images we see every day.”
The mural can be seen from the park (running alongside 10th Ave), on a building adjacent to it at 22nd St. It will be up on display for a full year, from now through December 2020.
featured image source: Courtesy the High Line