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NYC's Newest Sculpture Honors Trans People by Giving Them Wings

This New Sculpture Honors Trans People by Giving Them Wings

The site memorializes a transgender woman who was killed in 2017.

Just in time for Transgender Awareness Week, a new sculpture honoring transgender, intersex, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people has been unveiled in New York City's Tribeca Park.

Designed by Brazilian artist Rubem Robierb, the sculpture is a pair of ivory white butterfly wings which stand 10-feet high. The wings -- which are 13 feet long and four feet wide -- have a bony, almost fossil-like quality and are made of fiberglass. They are mounted to a base made of steel and concrete.

With a space in between just big enough for someone to stand, the design was crafted with the Instagram era in mind. After its November 4 debut, the sculpture has already become a popular selfie destination. It will be removed in six months, on May 4, 2020.

According to Robierb, the piece is a tribute to his late friend, Dandara dos Santos, a 42-year-old transgender woman whose 2017 murder rocked Brazil. Video captured of the incident showed the victim being "kicked in the face, beaten with a plank of wood and forced into a wheelbarrow," as the New York Times reported at the time. Off camera, she was bludgeoned and shot to death.

Robierb called the sculpture "Dandara."

"In tribute to the strength and bravery of the Trans GNC Community, Dandara has an important message and meaning and I felt that NYC was a place to showcase this on a public scale," the artist said in a press release.

The piece is just one entry in a series Robierb calls "Dream Machine," which pay tribute to "the ones who live and die, making the impossible happen." Other monuments spotlighted on his website are identical to the New York sculpture, while some are copper or gold instead of ivory. "Dream Machine" has also been featured by the Frost Museum of Science in Miami and the Scope Art Fair in New York.

The Transgender Week of Awareness is recognized each year on the second week of November. The week highlights the accomplishments and resilience of the trans community leading up to the Transgender Day of Rememberance on Nov. 20, which honors those who have lost their lives to anti-trans violence.

RELATED | What You Need to Know About Trans Awareness Month

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