9/11. September 11th, 2001. A date in which its events shook the entire world and hit some closer to home than others. On this tragic day, four coordinated terrorist attacks were carried out across America, resulting in 2,997 deaths and over 6,000 injuries. Many lost loved ones: family members, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and the list still goes on. Beyond the numbers and losses, there was panic and fear. Fear of terrorists. Fear of dying. Fear of living. In these dark times, the United States of America was united over fear and grief. In response to the attacks, many artists came forward with their interpretations and depictions of what they witnessed or felt on that day. The following art pieces directly confront the tragedy of 9/11 and honor the brave souls impacted by it. By addressing the event head on, these artists helped the nation finding the light at the end of the tunnel. Although we have moved forward, we will never forget.
Banksy is an anonymous street artist that is well known for his works of graffiti. He did made a 9/11 tribute on Staple Street, which is in Manhattan's Tribeca. It depicts the Twin Towers with a flower emerging from a crack in the center of a tower. Some see the flower as the explosion from when the American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower. Others see the flower as a symbol of resilience and strength. Then there are those who see the flower as just an overused cliché. What do you see?
These are only 3 paintings of the almost 3000 painting installation by Manju Shandler that were created to pay homage to each person that was lost in 9/11. This installation shows the sheer size of the tragedy and its massive influence and effects on society.
"On September 11, 2001 I was walking my dog when I heard that a plane had hit the towers about a mile from my home. When I returned to my studio a few days later, I put aside what I had been working on and started obsessively drawing the events of September 11th on small scraps of paper. I needed to respond to the horror." - Manju Shandler
If you would like, you can see the entire memorial installation and individual paintings on her website.
Here is one painting of a series of paintings titled "9/11 Elegies". Days after the 9/11 attacks, Weiss biked to Ground Zero to see the destruction of New York City, his lifelong home. Devastated by the ruins, Weiss collected ash from the site and incorporated it into his art. His paintings convey the collapse of the towers, and the void that their absence created.
On a massive seven story wall, the Brazilian street artist, Eduardo Kobra, painted a mural to honor the firefighters and first responders who risked their lives on 9/11. The mural is inspired by a famous photograph, but Kobra re-interpreted it with bright, vivid colors and additional details. When asked about the composition of the piece, Kobra said, "On the helmet, I wrote the numbers 343. This is a reference to the number of firefighters killed that day. There is also a representation of the Twin Towers, and the flag of the United States. The stars represent all the lives that were lost in the tragedy—which left nearly 3,000 dead. Lastly, the colors have one goal: To pass on a message of life, of a restart, of reconstruction". This touching mural can be found on 780 Third Avenue in MidTown New York.
Eric Fischl, an American painter and sculptor, created this sculpture to commemorate the victims who chose to jump from the Twin Towers and World Trade Center. He used this figure to show the vulnerability of the human body and the attacks. This piece is intended to be a "healing object." Next to the piece, Fischl also inscribed a quote on a plaque.
“We watched, disbelieving and helpless, on that savage day. People we love began falling, helpless and in disbelief”.
Ultimately, 9/11 will always remain a part of American history. To many, this history has been written on the body, heart, and mind. These five art pieces are only a small selection of 9/11 artwork. If you are ever in New York City, you can visit the 9/11 Memorial and 9/11 Museum to learn more. Through memorials and art, we commemorate the ones we have lost. Although it has been almost eighteen years, we will never forget. We will always remember.