The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 Friday, May 7, 2021

Cuomo unveils statue of Mother Cabrini
The sculptors Giancarlo Biagi and Jill Biagi in front of their Mother Cabrini statue at Battery Park City in Manhattan, Oct. 12, 2020. A year after a dispute between New York City and the state, a memorial to the patron saint of immigrants is dedicated in Manhattan. Jeenah Moon/The New York Times.

by Zachary Small

NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- When the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last year that a new project, She Built NYC, would commission monuments and memorials for undersung female leaders, the Roman Catholic nun who is considered the patron saint of immigrants was not on the shortlist, upsetting her many Italian American and Catholic fans, especially because in a public poll, she received the most votes.

But after a bureaucratic tussle between the city and state about the issue, on Monday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo unveiled a monument to Francesca Xavier Cabrini in Battery Park City during the state’s Columbus Day celebrations on Monday.

While the pandemic prevented the traditional parade, there was plenty of fanfare in Battery Park City, where a red cloak was removed to reveal the bronze statue after the governor spoke.

“May this statue serve to remind us of the principles that made us great,” the governor said. “Today, the lesson of Mother Cabrini is even more vital because of the difficulties we are facing.”

Quoting Cabrini, he said, “The world is poisoned with erroneous theories and needs to be taught sane doctrines. But it is difficult to strengthen what has become crooked.”

Earlier this year, a commission that included public officials and Italian Americans selected the artist couple Jill and Giancarlo Biagi to design the sculpture, budgeted at $750,000.

The monument stands against a backdrop of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, depicting Cabrini on a paper boat. The artists said the two children aboard are sailing to the New World from Europe. The girl holds onto the boat, symbolizing her steadfastness while the boy grips his luggage, ready to face the future. A mosaic beneath the sculpture was created, with help from the Cabrini Museum in Italy, with riverbed stones from Cabrini’s birthplace.

When she was a little girl in the Lombardy region of Europe, which would later become part of Italy, Francesca would fill paper boats with violets, calling them her missionaries, and send them down a stream, Jill Biagi explained.

“By putting her in the boat, it symbolizes her ability to withstand all the adversities of life in search of realizing her dream,” she said. “Her dream was to help the needy.”

And Cabrini did become a missionary. Born in 1850, she emigrated to the United States and settled in New York by 1889. She went on to found more than 60 schools, hospitals, and orphanages. And 30 years after her death in 1917, Cabrini became the first American to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church.

Last year, the list the city initiated for She Built NYC, a program led by Chirlane McCray, the first lady, was criticized over the exclusion of Cabrini. The disagreement culminated in actor Chazz Palminteri’s calling McCray a “racist” during a WNYC radio show. (He later apologized.)

At the time, de Blasio described the uproar as “a manufactured controversy,” promising that Cabrini would eventually get her due.

But the mayor never got his chance; days later, the governor announced the state commission to join the Diocese of Brooklyn and other supporters to find financing and a spot for the monument.

With the advent of the pandemic, the de Blasio administration indefinitely delayed its own program to honor women.

The sculptor Vinnie Bagwell said the state had been much more efficient than the city with its administration of public art projects in recent months. Her work on a state project, a Sojourner Truth monument in Highland, New York, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, got the necessary approvals to be completed on time. On the other hand, nearly a year after winning a city commission to design an artwork to replace a controversial Central Park statue, Bagwell said she hasn’t received a contract to begin her work.

“We are all sitting here, studying the horizon,” Bagwell said. “I’m disappointed in New York City. I expected more expedience, more professionalism and more communication.”

She’s not alone in her frustration. Four years after winning a city competition to memorialize musician Tito Puente in East Harlem, artist Ogundipe Fayomi withdrew from the project this summer, citing “the overly long process” as the main reason for his departure.

In response to the criticism, Mitch Schwartz, a spokesman for the mayor’s office, said, “This work takes time.” He added, “We’re going to do it thoughtfully and with robust community and artistic engagement. New York City is absolutely committed to seeing these projects through and giving our heroes the beautiful, meaningful and appropriate monuments they deserve.”

The mayor did not attend Cabrini’s unveiling.

© 2020 The New York Times Company

Today's News

October 14, 2020

Discover the World in a Fragment at the First Virtual Cotsen Textile Traces Global Roundtable, October 21-22

French museum halts Genghis Khan show after Chinese pressure

Häusler Contemporary presents an exhibition of works by James Turrell

Mexico urges Austria to return Moctezuma's headdress

J. Paul Getty Museum announces major acquisition of a group of 39 Dutch drawings

IU Eskenazi Museum of Art acquires painting by French/Mexican Surrealist artist Alice Rahon

Man's best friend once made nice wool blankets, too

After a 7-month wait, this tourist got Machu Picchu all to himself

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts acquires 19th-century work by Cheyenne artist Howling Wolf

New York Philharmonic cancels 2020-21 season over Covid-19

Abell Auction Co. hosts important Fine Art, Antiques, Furniture and Jewelry Sale on Oct. 18

Christie's to offer Finch & Co's Cabinet of Curiosities

Art museum professional Weintraub to lead Allentown Art Museum

Orange Barrel Media unveils Art for Action

The Photographers' Gallery opens an exhibition of photographs by Evgenia Arbugaeva

Antique arms and armour offered in the 83rd Auction of Hermann Historica GmbH

Istanbul authorities ban Kurdish-language play

Margaret Nolan, 'Goldfinger' actress, dies at 76

A flutist steps into the solo spotlight

Cuomo unveils statue of Mother Cabrini

Christie's offers the fantastic collection of Baroness Marion Lambert

First edition Christopher Marlowe expected to bring $60k in Early Printed Books at Swann

BAMPFA establishes new curatorial position dedicated to African American quilt collection

Novelist James Ellroy's handwritten White Jazz heads to auction for the first time

Top 5 Smart Toys to Buy in 2020

Van Gogh To Tour America In 2021

The Most Unexpected Places to Find Great Art Around the World

Moving Tips That Every Millennial Need for a Successful Move

Brainstorming, a problem-solving technique

Remodeling your Kitchen

The main art tools of an artist

What are the tips for roper dissertation writing?

Succulent Give Your Extra Room Beauty

How Does Art Affect the Worldview of Society?

Things That Personal Injury Attorney Can Do For You

Things to Consider While Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyers Austin

What Needs to Consider While Selecting a Criminal Defense Lawyer Tampa?

How to Connect to Your Target Audience with Strategy and Design

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful