Four mirror paneled columns on a park grass from the exhibition "Absent Monuments"

Absent Monuments: Brooklyn Waterfront

27 Jul 2019 OUTDOORS
Four mirror paneled columns on a grass

Featuring: Rose DeSiano










As part of an ongoing series, artist Rose DeSiano has been erecting obelisks throughout New York City. By marking the landscape, she has been sharing stories and honoring great people often overshadowed by the select, and few declared heroes. Her public installations are made of mirrored obelisks, whose plinths feature blue and white Dutch Delft tiles, with original and archival images.

Photoville presents Absent Monuments: Brooklyn Waterfront which tells the tales of Brooklyn’s historically bustling waterfront, including: mercantilism, colonization, war, abolitionism, woman’s activism, immigration, and modern urbanization. The various scenes are surrounded by floral tiles, a motif that honors the region’s Native American people, and acknowledges other periods of cultural displacement that have occurred in Brooklyn.

Above the tiled plinths, the obelisk form alludes to fallen empires and underrepresented African cultures. The mirrored surface reflects the viewer–celebrating them today, and placing them directly into the landscape’s history.

Each obelisk is dedicated to the stories of the neighborhoods that remain unspoken, and to the residents of current-day Brooklyn that remain uncelebrated. These towering, luminous, and reflective obelisks have been created and installed to correct the absence of celebration.


Rose DeSiano uses photography and sculpture as tools to examine cultural symbolism, collective consciousness, and the long, tangled history of the photograph as both a truth-teller and myth-maker.

Her work has been exhibited at solo gallery shows in New York, the Northeast, on the West Coast, and in Europe. It has been included in group exhibitions and biennials at The Bronx Museum of the Arts, NYC, the Allentown Art Museum, PA, and the Municipal Heritage Museum, Málaga, Spain. She has shown at international photo fairs such as Photoville NYC, FotoFocus Ohio, and the Orange Changsha Photo Festival, China.

Equally engaged in a public art sculpture practice, DeSiano’s artwork has been commissioned by the Port of San Diego, CA, by New York City’s Department of Parks and Recreation, appearing in Central Park, on Randall’s Island, at Rufus King Park, and also at Connecticut’s I-Park. Most recently, she unveiled a large public photo-sculpture in New York City, the winner of the 2018-19 UNIQLO Parks Expression Grant.

DeSiano earned her Master of Fine Arts from the ArtCenter, Los Angeles and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from New York University’s Tisch School of Arts, Photography and Imagining Department. She is currently a Professor of Photography at Kutztown University, PA, while living and working in Brooklyn, NY.

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