- Project Name
- Para Roberto
- Melissa Calderón
- Department of Cultural Affairs’ Percent for Art Program, the Department of Design and Construction, the Department of Transportation, and the Third Avenue BID
- Project Types
- Project Scope
- New Construction
- Shared by
- Madeleine D'Angelo
- Project Status
This project was recognized in the NYC Public Design Commission's 38th Annual Awards for Excellence in Design.
FROM THE NYC PUBLIC DESIGN COMMISSION DESIGN AWARDS:
Para Roberto is a site-specific memorial artwork in honor of the late Roberto Clemente, Hall of Fame outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, humanitarian, and Latin American icon. Located within the newly opened Roberto Clemente Plaza in the South Bronx, the artwork incorporates familiar elements that speak to the memories and history of Clemente’s life and the shared experiences of the many Bronxites that have come to New York City from Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, and beyond.
The sculpture’s central feature is a bronze chair typical to one an abuelo (grandfather) might use in Puerto Rico, where Clemente was born. Artist Melissa Calderon imagines that Clemente would have sat in a similar chair, reminiscing and telling stories. Surrounding the chair,an arbor of sugarcane stalks stand like quiet sentinels,representing the hardships Clemente and his family faced working in the sugarcane fields, a common experience in the colonial history of the Caribbean.
The memorial is a reminder that history shapes the future and provides the foundation to move forward and achieve success. Together, the artwork and plaza promote healthy living and equity by providing inclusionary green open space and commemorating an immigrant and local hero.
“I believe that every human being is equal, but one has to fight hard all the time to maintain that equality.”- Roberto Clemente