The new Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport reflects the creativity, innovation, and diversity of New Jersey and the surrounding region. At the core of the modernized and enhanced visitor experience are two permanent installations by artists Layqa Nuna Yawar and Karyn Olivier. Spanning the arrivals and departures halls, they were commissioned in partnership with Public Art Fund.
Public Art Fund was invited by Munich Airport NJ and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to realize the two monumental, site-specific commissions. They may be encountered on multiple levels and at various points in a traveler’s journey through the terminal. Extending across the arrivals hall, Layqa Nuna Yawar’s vibrant 350-foot mural, Between the Future Past, celebrates the abundant diversity of Newark, New Jersey—from local flora and fauna to influential identities past and present. Cascading from the departures level to the arrivals hall are Karyn Olivier’s twin 50-foot suspended sculptures. Titled Approach, Olivier’s dynamic installation celebrates flight by capturing different views of Newark and Elizabeth, NJ, in photographs of local architecture, infrastructure, and topography shot from sunrise to nightfall. Both artworks serve as love letters to New Jersey and pay homage to its local heroes and unique geography.
These two permanent installations are complemented by 27 works by local artists, as part of a larger art program initiative. For these rotating installations, the EWR Terminal A Art Advisory Council invited submissions from New Jersey artists in several categories: digital, photography, and diptych. With the integration of thought-provoking and awe-inspiring public artworks, the new state-of-the-art terminal creates a striking and memorable sense of place.
The artworks by Layqa Nuna Yawar and Karyn Oliver are commissioned by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and Munich Airport NJ, in partnership with Public Art Fund
Layqa Nuna Yawar, Between the Future Past
Layqa Nuna Yawar (b. 1984, Cuenca, Ecuador lives and works in Newark, NJ)
Between the Future Past, 2021-22
Acrylic paint and inkjet print on fabric mounted to aluminum panel
Between the Future Past celebrates the abundant diversity of Newark, New Jersey, and the New York metropolitan area. Layqa Nuna Yawar has reimagined the format of a historical mural to reflect an ongoing cycle of time that embraces past, present, and future. Drawing on his indigenous heritage and Kichwa language, he sees the mural as “a looped narrative that can be read from right to left and left to right.” The artwork features native flora and fauna, emphasizing nature as a symbol for growth. It is populated by a wide range of individuals across time, culture, race and gender, highlighting narratives of personal accomplishment and perseverance that have often been overlooked. People brought by successive waves of global migration, including those from Black, Brown, Asian, and Middle Eastern backgrounds, as well as Indigenous people, are represented in this expansive vision. From airport workers to poets to LGBTQ+ heroes, Layqa Nuna Yawar’s mural rethinks who should be celebrated publicly, proposing that all individuals are equally remarkable in their humanity.
Mural Models: Julia Relis, Kimberly O’Neal, Enrique Outeiral, Nathaniel Quaye, Yeimy Gamez Castillo and Mathyias “Laughing Wolf” Ellis
Studio: Diego Molina, Kelley Prevard, Andrece Brady, Jill Cohen-Nuñez, Carolina Acevedo, Jan Kathleen, Tyler Cala, Monet Sheard, Rebecca Gual
Photography: Chrystofer Davis, Leslie Cabrera, Melissa Garcia-Parra
Research: Noelle Lorraine Williams, Rafael Osorio
Consulting: Bridgett Cruz and Michael Hew Wing
Graphic Design: Manuel Sanchez
Karyn Olivier, Approach
Karyn Olivier (b. 1968, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago; lives and works in Philadelphia, PA)
Powder-coated aluminum and stainless steel
To create Approach, Karyn Olivier embarked on an extensive photographic survey of Newark and the surrounding region. She captured the extraordinary tapestry of New Jersey’s iconic skylines, robust infrastructure and natural beauty. Slices of land and sky are suspended in two helix-like structures: one that depicts daytime and the other night. Each ring is double-sided, and presents two distinct views: when looking up, a bird’s eye view; and when looking down from above, a skyward view. This inversion echoes the temporary disorientation that travel often causes as we transit multiple time zones to arrive in different places with new perceptions. As passengers approach the sculptures, the rings begin to align concentrically, revealing a rich topographical mosaic. The artwork may even appear to move, compressing or expanding as our view shifts. The result is a dynamic study of both landscape and time, two elements that define our unique experience of place.
Special thanks to UAP Company, Torsilieri Inc., Peter Massini/Big City Aerials, and Cally Iden.
About the Artists
Karyn Olivier lives and works in Philadelphia, PA. She considers history, displacement, migration, and visibility/invisibility through conceptual sculptures made of industrial materials and found objects. In these sculptures, conventional figuration is absent, but the vestiges of bodies are central. With this transposal of the human subject, Olivier collapses multiple histories, memories, and times, creating singular material snapshots of larger processes of movement and change.
Olivier has had solo exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, PA, and the University of Buffalo Art Gallery, NY, as well as at galleries in Italy, Mexico, and the U.S. She has participated in group exhibitions at Documenta 15, Kassel, Germany; the Gwangju and Busan Biennials, South Korea; the World Festival of Black Arts and Culture, Dakar, Senegal; The Whitney Museum of Art of American Art, New York, NY; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY; MoMA PS1, Queens, NY; Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, PA; and more.
Layqa Nuna Yawar creates art deeply informed by his own immigrant and multicultural identity, confronting racism, injustice, and xenophobia through imagery that uplifts those targeted by these prejudices. Prioritizing public art in his practice, Layqa Nuna Yawar uses the mural as a platform to explore and celebrate the intricacies of these historically marginalized identities, emphasizing unity, diversity, history, and cross-cultural exchange in works that center the communities in which they are placed.
Layqa Nuna Yawar has had exhibitions at MoMA PS1, Queens, NY, the Newark Museum of Art, Newark, NJ, and more, including in Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, Berlin, San Juan, and Tehran. He has also painted murals throughout Newark, NJ, and New York, NY, as well as in Ecuador, El Salvador, Paraguay, South Korea, Mexico, and Canada. He was awarded a Monument Lab Research Residency (2020), a Creative Catalyst Fund Fellowship by the City of Newark (2020), and a Moving Walls Fellowship by Open Society Foundations (2019).
About Creative Partnerships
Extending our core mission to present dynamic exhibitions by the world’s most compelling artists and make culture accessible to all, Public Art Fund: Creative Partnerships brings strategic planning, curatorial, project management, and communications expertise to leading cultural institutions, corporations, and civic organizations across the globe. Through these collaborations, Public Art Fund commissions permanent installations and temporary exhibitions in line with the unique vision of our partners and the specific parameters of each site, resulting in new artworks that activate public spaces, create engaged constituencies, and amplify the impact of our partners’ own initiatives through the power of public art.