On its own, the New York City metropolitan area is home to more than 100,000 indigenous people, and are part of a larger community of approximately six million indigenous people nationwide.
Local artist Eloy Bida is hoping to bridge the gaps between these local and national communities with a new mural at the corner of White and Seigel Streets in Bushwick.
Depicting two women holding a feather in front of the New York City skyline, the artwork is meant to connect the New York community to the issues affecting indigenous people nationwide, particularly the ongoing crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women.
“Indigenous people from the East Coast are often not considered in the discussion about missing and murdered indigenous people,” Bida explained before the mural’s unveiling. “Organizing this mural not only brings broader awareness to New York City residents, but shows our Native community that we have not forgotten our missing and murdered.”
Bida partnered with the Urban Indigenous Collective, an organization that created a database to document indigenous missing persons cases on the East Coast, on the mural. It will be on display for a month.
“Surrounding this wall is a highly artistic neighborhood that encourages murals and street art, and we felt indigenous artwork would add vibrancy, color, and a powerful message to the area,” said Ariel Richer, UIC CEO and director of Research and Advocacy.
The mural includes a QR code that directs Brooklynites to information about the issues of human trafficking, kindnapping, and rape that afflict indigenous women and the indigenous community as a whole.
“The size and placement of the wall fit the project well, allowing for street level engagement with the QR code and offering illumination at night,” Richer added. “The building itself is owned by artists that have always been supportive of championing social messaging through artistic expression.”