Across la Tierra

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A mural of a woman with a fist up and a butterfly in the background

Installation view of Across la Tierra.

The Open Society Foundations, New York, New York, August 2018.

This mural was designed by Layqa Nuna Yawar in collaboration with the organization United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth-led network in the United States, which fights for justice and dignity for all immigrants. The work is based on photographs from their past campaigns and celebrates their work over the past 10 years. This painted image of a young activist will be turned into posters that will be handed out to United We Dream members at their conference and rally in Miami in late 2018, followed by a potential public mural in Miami.

© Layqa Nuna Yawar

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A building with a mural on it

A public mural made by Layqa Nuna Yawar in collaboration with the organization Esperanza Neighborhood Project led by members of the local community.

New Brunswick, New Jersey, United States, July 2018.

© Kristen Rae Miranda

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A sketch of a girl wearing a hat

Sketches and color studies created in preparation for the Esperanza Neighborhood Project mural.

New Brunswick, New Jersey, United States, March–July 2018.

© Layqa Nuna Yawar

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A sketch of a girl smiling with a flower in her hair

Sketches and color studies created in preparation for the Esperanza Neighborhood Project mural.

New Brunswick, New Jersey, United States, March–July 2018.

© Layqa Nuna Yawar

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A sketch of a woman and a rose

Sketches and color studies created in preparation for the Esperanza Neighborhood Project mural.

New Brunswick, New Jersey, United States, March–July 2018.

© Layqa Nuna Yawar

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Children painting a mural

Children and community members participate in the creation of Esperanza Neighborhood Project mural.

New Brunswick, New Jersey, United States, July 2018.

© Layqa Nuna Yawar

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A girl and a boy painting a mural

Children and community members participate in the creation of Esperanza Neighborhood Project mural.

New Brunswick, New Jersey, United States, July 2018.

© Layqa Nuna Yawar

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Two women and children posing in front of a mural

Children and community members participate in the creation of Esperanza Neighborhood Project mural.

New Brunswick, New Jersey, United States, July 2018.

© Layqa Nuna Yawar

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Two girls sitting on a sidewalk, painting

Children and community members participate in the creation of Esperanza Neighborhood Project mural.

New Brunswick, New Jersey, United States, July 2018.

© Layqa Nuna Yawar

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A triptych of a drawing of a woman wearing a hat with a bird above her, a woman looking in the mirror, and a bird

Migrant Imaginary, 2018.

A triptych made during a residency at the Brodsky Center and in collaboration with master printmaker Randy Hemminghaus and master papermaker Anne McKeown.

© Layqa Nuna Yawar
Layqa Nuna Yawar

Layqa Nuna Yawar (b. 1984, Ecuador; lives in the United States) migrated to the United States in the late 1990s, during a period of severe economic and political instability in Ecuador. This experience framed his understanding of global migration as a necessity more than a privilege and created a sense of fracture and cross-cultural identity that informed his early street art.

Yawar’s practice now includes studio paintings, murals, installations, curation, and public art made with underrepresented communities of color. These projects’ varied goals include community celebration, climate change awareness, and city beautification. Exhibited internationally, Yawar is a founding member, teaching artist, and former curator of Young New Yorkers, a Brooklyn-based program that provides an art-based alternative to incarceration.

Artist Statement

Layqa Nuna Yawar

As an artist, muralist, and educator, my work focuses on amplifying the silenced narratives of underserved communities, migrants, and people of color through public art and figurative representation. My aim is to foster the imagination of a brighter and more just future, while also questioning and confronting oppression, prejudice, and exploitation.

My practice is rooted in a methodology of social engagement. Each proj­ect begins with a process of identifying a shared vision for a public mural by having conversations and creating artwork—photography, drawing, painting—with and of my host communities. The end result is a piece of collaborative artwork, which may take various forms, including large scale murals and installations, paintings, drawings, sculptures, public art inter­ventions, exhibitions (in museums, galleries, and classrooms), lectures, curation, or a mixture of some or all of the above.

My work is often ephemeral and only fully complete when viewers and stakeholders accept or engage with it in their communities. Since the artwork reflects the process and the communities that helped create it, the impact is often immediate. The artwork’s radical vision creates dia­logue—or sometimes conflict—and touches people personally by offering counter-narratives of hope.

—Layqa Nuna Yawar, September 2018

Moving Walls is an annual exhibition series that explores a variety of social justice and human rights issues through documentary practice, and is produced by the Open Society Documentary Photography Project. Moving Walls is exhibited at our offices in New York, London, and Washington, D.C., and includes five to nine discrete bodies of work.

Since 1998, Moving Walls has featured over 200 photographers and artists whose works address a variety of social justice and human rights issues.

Are You a Photographer?

Please check back for details on the next call for proposals for Moving Walls.

Plan a Visit

Moving Walls 25: Another Way Home will be open free of charge to the public at the Open Society Foundations–New York from September 26, 2018 to July 19, 2019.