Sculpture honoring transgender community unveiled in New York City park

ByLauren Glassberg, Sam Champion Localish logo
Monday, December 2, 2019
Butterfly wings take flight in NYC to honor transgender community
A 10-foot tall sculpture dedicated to the Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Community (GNC) was unveiled in Tribeca Park in Manhattan.

A new sculpture takes flight in New York City to celebrate the transgender community.

The 10-foot tall sculpture is dedicated to the Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Community (GNC) and was unveiled in Tribeca Park in Manhattan.

Internationally known visual artist Rubem Robierb is the creator of the sculpture "Dandara," which is named after the 42-year-old transgender woman who was brutally attacked and murdered in Forteleza, Brazil, in 2017.

"Nothing defines the powerful of reinventing yourself, the power to express your inner self, than a butterfly," said Robierb. "You cannot tell a caterpiller she will not become a butterfly, because she knows she will."

Robierb's "Dream Machine" sculpture was proclaimed the most photographed and Instagrammed artwork on Celebrity Cruise Lines' first billion-dollar cruise ship. He names his "Dream Machine" sculptures after someone forgotten or famous who lived/died fighting for their dreams, or the dream of others.

"I want to give a voice for people who don't have one," said Robierb.

Related: Eyewitness News' reporter Lauren Glassberg at the unveiling of the Dream Machine sculpture when it opened

In 2019, according to the Human Rights Campaign, over 26 murders have been recorded in the United States. As the final title card from Pose FX Season 2, Episode 4 says, "More than 1,000 transgender and gender-nonconforming people have been murdered across the globe since 2016."

Within the 10-foot high pearl white sculptured fiberglass wings, spanning 13 feet long by 4 feet wide fixed on a steel and concrete base, there is a spot for the viewer to place themselves between the butterfly wings. The Dream Machine was designed for the public to interact with the sculpture.

Drag Queen and Activist, Peppermint, was at the unveiling to see the wings take off. "It's important for me to be a part of this tribute to Dandara because, in any other situation, her name would have never been spoken," said Peppermint.

Robierb is married to Eyewitness News' weather anchor, Sam Champion. Both of them have been activists for equal marriage, actively support the LGBTQ Task Force, HRC, GLAAD and Point Foundation LGBT, among many others.

"It's an ugly part of life and society that we need to show and say 'We are all too good for this'," said Champion.

The sculpture will be on display at Tribeca Park (W. Broadway & 6th Avenue) from Nov. 4, 2019 - May 4, 2020.