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Creator of Immigrant-Themed Times Square Heart Sculpture Takes Aim at Trump

By Maya Rajamani | February 7, 2017 5:10pm
 The Times Square Alliance has unveiled the winner of its ninth annual Times Square Valentine Heart competition.
'We Were Strangers Once Too'
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TIMES SQUARE — A new sculpture designed as a “reaction” to President Donald Trump’s campaign promises went on display in Times Square Tuesday — with its creator doubling down on the importance of the piece following the president's "xenophobic" actions.

The Times Square Alliance unveiled the piece, called “We Were Strangers Once Too,” which won the ninth annual Times Square Valentine Heart competition prior to Trump's executive order seeking to ban travelers to the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries. 

The Office for Creative Research submitted its proposal for the installation a few days after President Trump’s election, co-founder Jer Thorp said.

“There’s no doubt that this piece was conceived as a reaction to that moment — a way for all of us at the office… to voice our alarm at the kinds of things we’d heard during the election,” he said. “Border walls. Muslim registries. Racist epithets shouted at rallies. Actual, real-life Nazis.”

The sculpture is composed of 33 metal poles, all of which reflect data relating to the city’s immigrant populations.

Since the election, Trump’s campaign promises have “turned into executive orders, into immigration bans, into broken families," Thorp said. 

“These kinds of hateful, xenophobic policies really only depend on one thing — the belief in the concept of ‘the other,’” he said. “I believe that this city has always known that that is a lie — that there is no such thing as ‘the other.’”

The installation will be on display in the plaza, between West 46th and 57th streets, until March 5, the Times Square Alliance said.

“It feels… important that this piece open now, to allow us to put this big and bright statement of support for immigrants in this extraordinary public place,” Thorp added.

“It has always been and will always be a city of immigrants."