In celebration of some of the most influential figures from Bronx history, Brooklyn-based artist Rico Gaston has recently unveiled his series of glass mosaic murals at the 167th Street B/D subway station. Titled Beacons, the eight icons featured include Gil Scott-Heron, Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Audre Lorde, James Baldwin, Maya Angelou, Reggie Jackson, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
The MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) says in a press release: “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.” Gaston also admits that each of his mosaic subjects have impacted him personally, contributing to his worldview on art and politics.
One mural pays homage to Bronx-based Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor—the first Hispanic and Latina Supreme Court Justice in history. Another depicts James Arthur Baldwin, an influential American novelist and social critic whose essays explore the racial, sexual, and class divisions of mid-20th-century American societies.
Each mural portrait was based on a sourced photograph and then artistically translated into glass mosaic using thousands of glass tile fragments. Surrounded by strong sunbeam-like lines in red, orange, yellow, black, and green, the mosaic figures appear to radiate their own positive energy.
Brooklyn-based artist Rico Gaston has recently unveiled his series of glass mosaic murals at the 167th Street B/D subway station.