NY artist nails it with mosaic grotto in Times Square

People visit a Fountain for Survivors, an immersive, 18-foot tall fountain covered in a mosaic of over 365,000 acrylic nails in Times Square in the Manhattan borough of New York October 14, 2021. ― Reuters pic
People visit a Fountain for Survivors, an immersive, 18-foot tall fountain covered in a mosaic of over 365,000 acrylic nails in Times Square in the Manhattan borough of New York October 14, 2021. ― Reuters pic

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NEW YORK, Oct 15 ― A New York artist has assembled more than 350,000 acrylic fingernails to create a neon and pale pink grotto ― a tribute to surviving the coronavirus pandemic.

“A Fountain for Survivors,” enclosed in an 18-foot tall rhinestone-studded cave, was unveiled yesterday in Times Square, offering visitors a refuge until December 8.

“Nails are what you do when it's time to maintain,” said artist Pamela Council, who has used fountains in her other work exploring the Black experience in the United States.

“Nails is that little special thing that you do for yourself. And I think survivors need that.”

The sculpture resonated with many Black visitors who treat nails as an artform, including Michelle Abrokwa, 29, who said the artwork made her think of her sisters and their love of getting their nails done.

“Every day was a new design for them, sort of like a sense of expression for them,” she said. “So it'd be like, 'OK, on my off-day, I am going to paint my nails this colour.' It's kind like a mood ring of sorts.”

Visitors may drop a coin-shaped “wishing wafer” into the fountain, which will fizz up to release a healing fragrance.

With New York emerging from lockdown, the Times Square Alliance said it estimated some 10 million pedestrians will see the free exhibit. The city was an early epicentre of the pandemic.

Surviving the loss and lockdown was on the top of Council's mind in creating her work.

“We've all made it this far,” she said. “And we all need a spark of joy right now.” ― Reuters

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