Sharon Ma


Located at the touchdown of the 103rd Street pedestrian bridge from Manhattan, Sharon Ma’s hello welcomes and celebrates the neighbors of Randall’s Island Park by highlighting the enthusiasm and warmth generated by this simple word. Comprising five ten-foot-tall letters planted with succulent plants, this living, vertical garden functions as the “voice” of the landscape, calling to all who pass. Ma’s goal is to invite photography with the piece, extending the medium into a public space and a larger scale in order to record and share visitor interaction. Ma’s hello invokes familiar “Greetings from ...” postcards of a previous era, and calls upon us to create and share our own digital messages with Randall’s Island Park as background.

The Blog

hello: Leaf Peeping

Renovations are complete. Time to leaf peep!

Succulents are gone and leaves are falling!

Thanks for stopping by with lunch and leaves! Both well needed.

Somehow fallen leaves attached themselves onto my sculpture. Must be MAgic!

Restoration is a dirty process, which has given me glue-y, white hair and dirt on my face.

Check out the progress I've made!

Someone asked me if this is a memorial. In a sense, it is; to ourselves and to our neighbors.

All different, yet all the same. Everyone is unique.

Finally finished. Hello and good night.

hello: Damage - At least it's minimal

This past weekend thousands of people, including Drake, Bjork,The Black Keys, St Vincent, and Weird Al, came for The Governor's Ball Music Festival on Randall's Island, which meant that a ton of fans walked across the 103rd Street footbridge and were greeted with hello. YES, THESE PLANTS ARE REAL. Please don't pluck, squash, or climb. You break it, you just bought the entire sculpture. Thank you!

Regular maintenance to see how the succulents are doing.

Looks like some of them were plucked out of their pockets. Many of which were on the bottom half of the letters.

Some UBER trash...

And some squashed succulents. The best place to stand is actually near the path if you want to get the entire sculpture.

hello: Opening Day

The opening was a complete success! If you missed it, don't worry. The exhibition continues into November, so come visit! The easiest way to get there is via a short walk across the 103rd Street footbridge from Manhattan. Once you're on Randall's Island, I will greet you with helloAs the weekend approaches again, this time for the Governor's Ball, I also look forward to the many visitors ahead over the next several months.

As for the opening, what a perfect day! Along with signed, postcard-prints of my sculpture, I also gave out these baby succulents, which kids love.

Dogs love art too.

Many activities happening on Randall's Island, including art, sports, barbecuing, urban farming, and great views.

hello: The Idea Comes to Life - Grand Opening THIS Saturday, May 30

It's hard to imagine that it was only 5 months ago when I went to the information session and tour of Randall's Island Park. Now, there stands a 10-ft tall idea come to life.

From the idea...

To maquette...

To real life.

When I envisioned hello, I wanted to create something that would encapsulate the island's location and its surrounding neighborhoods as well as capture the history and all the activities it has today. I also wanted the art piece to extend the photographic medium and have the land speak. Remembering back to the information session, projects were asked to be fun and quirky. I believe I did all these things, especially after hearing people whom have stopped to tell me how beautiful this installation is, how it's a wonderful surprise, or just saying, "hello" to everyone they see when they take a photograph with it, or simply smile as they pass by.

hello: Installation Day

Prepped with primer and painted the sides metallic gold.

Similar to the natural wood, but now it looks more complete. I chose warm tones to complement the summer and fall seasons during the exhibition.

Morning of Installation was actually favorable, even though it was foggy and just a little chilly. We were all thankful that the sun was beating down on us and it wasn't hot or humid. While I waited for everyone to arrive, I put out sonotubes, so they'd be ready for holes to be dug.

Deb and her crew (Pete, Tom, Junior, and Elliot) went straight to work, digging and shelling for the 5 letters.

What do you call a writer, a computer scientist, and a comic book artist? Friends, who volunteered to help out!

With the strength of a small village, the town was erected in a day. I could not have done this without the help of everyone here. At one point there were 16 people all for my project. Teamwork.

The Artist

Sharon Ma(b. 1979, San Jose, California)

Sharon Ma creates works of art that combine elements of photography, archaeology, and sculpture to show how people curate their lives and experiences. She compares the transience of human life to the ever-changing form of nature. Her works point at the human quest for immortality, the personalization of everyday things and their elevation into grandeur, and the evolving definition of self against shifting environments. Ma studied at New York University (BA, 2002), Yale University (MA research, 2006), and New School University (MFA, 2013).

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