“Symbols of Communication” is a large mural that was previously located in the lobby of The Times-Picayune building has found a new home in the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA). The mural, by renowned Mexican-born artist Enrique Alférez, will be a permanent feature in the museum’s auditorium.
and died in 1999 at age 99. He was one of the most famously known New Orleans artists in the modern era. He was best known for his sculpting in the art deco style. This love of sculpting stemmed from helping his father as a child carve religious statutes for the church. After attending the Art Institute of Chicago, he moved to New Orleans in 1929.
His work can be found throughout New Orleans’ public spaces such as the Lakefront Airport, the Old Charity Hospital building, Poydras Street and several spots in City Park. His art found throughout the city symbolizes cross-cultural communication which is important still today.
“In a time when communication and mutual understanding is more critical than ever, our hope is that Enrique Alferez’s mural will serve as a powerful reminder of art’s ability to unify and reflect issues of topical interest,” said Susan Taylor, the Montine McDaniel Freeman Director of NOMA.
The three-story-tall plaster mural, “Symbols of Communication” is a huge piece that hangs on the wall and features alphabet symbols from across the world and different times. These include symbols from ancient Roman, Egyptian and Mayan along with alphabets from Egypt, Chinese, Japanese and Arabic. The artwork even includes Morse Code and Braille.
Joe Jaeger, Barry Kern, Michael White and Arnold Kirschman purchased the old Times-Picayune building in 2016. Before they demolished the building in 2019, they had the famous mural removed and preserved for over $200,000. The investors graciously gave the piece to the New Orleans Museum of Art.
The public will be able to see the displayed 50-year old piece starting in January 2021. NOMA Deputy Director Anne Baños said it will take until the opening for the auditorium renovation to be complete.
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