October 23, 2023
Starting this October, people walking north on Varick Street will get a unique art experience with our unveiling of “We’re Freeing Ourselves,” the first artwork ever installed on a city roadway gantry, the overhead framework that displays directional and informational signs for drivers. Located on the southern-facing back of the Holland Tunnel gantry sign, the 200 sq ft installation adds to the BID’s urban art gallery program, Hudson Square Canvas, and furthers our vision of transforming an area once defined by vehicular traffic into a lively, pedestrian-centric neighborhood filled with open spaces, trees, and public art.
We’re Freeing Ourselves was created by independent visual artist Shawna X, who was among seven artists invited by the Motion Picture Academy to reimagine the Oscar Trophy in 2020. She is known for her vibrant and graphical image-making for clients in music, fashion, and technology. In We’re Freeing Ourselves, Shawna X depicts the people of Hudson Square as larger-than-life figures amid bands of colors representing the landscape of the area.
“Through this project, I am communicating human strength and resilience by portraying the people of Hudson Square as stepping over all obstacles, rejoicing in the new days to come,” said artist Shawna X.
“They joyfully fling themselves into a world of color and beauty which alludes to the vibrancy of city living and the creative neighborhood of Hudson Square.” In the future, this gantry space will feature other artwork, including pieces sourced through competitions. Check out this artwork at the corner of Varick and Spring St.
About Shawna X
Shawna X is a visual artist based in New York City. Known for abstract, bold, and vibrant use of color and motifs, and drawing on personal and culturally-nuanced experiences, Shawna’s work explores themes of identity, creativity, and motherhood, often utilizing multimedia and public spaces as mediums for expression.