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For the past two years, JR has been creating a special project on the south side of Ellis Island, a very important historic site that has been abandoned since the mid 1950s. Using 100-year-old photos from the Ellis Island archives of the immigrants and workers that used to move through the halls and rooms of the hospital, he created pastes and put them up in more than 16 rooms. "Unframed – Ellis Island" is now done, and the public is invited to view it and that that part of the island beginning Oct. 1.
Many of the images are a bit creepy, but the exhibition is powerful and important. On Instagram, JR explained the project and shared images of eerie and dilapidated spaces that have not been seen for nearly six decades. "A lot of children were entering the United States through Ellis Island," he writes of a paste of a child's eye on a broken window (above). "Most of them didn't speak English and were separated from their parents without understanding why... they felt abandoned."
The artist provided a preview tour to the press and shared details of his process to the New York Times. "The idea is to respect the architecture," he said. "I let the walls decide what part of the image should appear." Janis Calella, President of the Save Ellis Island organization, told the Times that after the first round of tours next month, the exhibition will remain "until it decides to disappear."
[via New York Times]