Sculpture dedicated to transgender community debuts in Tribeca Park

Artist Rubem Robierb speaking in front of his “Dandara” sculpture at the unveiling ceremong. (Photo by Gabe Herman)

BY GABE HERMAN | A new sculpture unveiled on Monday in Tribeca Park is dedicated to the transgender GNC (gender non-conforming) community.

The ten-foot-tall fiberglass sculpture is in the shape of a butterfly. It’s by visual artist Rubem Robierb as part of his “Dream Machine” series. Each work in the series is named for a person, whether famous or forgotten, who lived or died fighting for their own dreams or the dreams of others.

This piece is called “Dandara,” named for a transgender woman who was murdered in Brazil in 2017 at age 42.

“We are all here for the right reasons, we are all here because we care,” said Robierb at the Nov. 4 ceremony in Tribeca Park, which is just below Canal Street where West Broadway and Sixth Avenue converge.

The sculpture will be in Tribeca Park until May 4, 2020. (Photo by Gabe Herman)

Robierb thanked everyone for coming to the event and referenced the work’s tribute to Dandara and the transgender GNC community.

“This is a monument for dreamers,” Robierb said. “Imagine yourself between these wings, close your eyes and make a wish. See yourself in a place where dreams come true.”

Sam Champion, the ABC weather anchor who is married to Robierb, hosted the event. He said the sculpture is a place for all people to come and share dreams. “We’re the same and there’s strength in that,” Champion said.

Sam Champion hosted the unveiling ceremony. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Mastercard)

Another speaker was Peppermint, a transgender woman from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” who is an actress and activist. “I never dreamt of such a beautiful day,” she said. “I feel blessed and thankful to be one of the first to lay eyes on this beautiful sculpture.”

Peppermint said that going back decades; there has often been a lack of visibility for the LGBT community and negative images associated with transgender women. “It’s pretty clear to see how that can serve as a barrier to someone seeing themselves in a positive light,” she said.

Peppermint and Rubem Robierb in front of the sculpture. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Mastercard)

She added that transgender women are gaining more visibility but are also victims of violence at increasing rates, including in Brazil and the U.S.

Peppermint noted of the sculpture being dedicated to Dandara, “To have her name and essence carry on is such a beautiful thing.” She said she hoped the sculpture could be the beginning of others having a space and knowing that dreams can be realized. “Hopefully this can be the beginning of change we need to see,” she said.

The “Dandara” sculpture will be at Tribeca Park until May 4, 2020.