This photograph shows a large metal sculpture resembling an origami boat. The boat is constructed from geometric mirrored panels. There are three-inch spaces between the mirrored panels, so that the geometric shapes appear to float. The sculpture sits on a concrete plaza. Behind it is a low wall, a tree, and a river, with an urban skyline on the far side of the river. The sky is light blue with wispy clouds.

Blessing of the Boats: River to River

  • Muna Malik
ArtistMuna Malik
Dimensions84 x 48 x 192 inches (213.36 cm x 121.92 cm x 487.68 cm)
MediumSteel and mirrored plexi
CreditCourtesy of the artist

Muna Malik originally conceived of her sculptural installation project, Blessing of the Boats, as a tribute to global migration and the millions of people who have left the countries where they were born with the hopes of finding reliable work and more secure futures for their families. These migrants are an indispensable, if often undervalued, segment of the workforce in nations like the United States.

Muna has expanded the focus of her project as she has replicated her Blessing of the Boats installation in public and private spaces around the country. Building on the topic of global migration, the artist’s goal now is to prompt people to consider how we might come together to create a better society. She asks: “What message would you leave if you knew your words would have a major impact on someone?” and “Given the opportunity to sail toward a new future, what society would you create, and how might we get there?” The project invites the public to share in the labor of creating the artwork by encouraging viewers to craft origami paper boats, which they inscribe with heartfelt messages for the future. The paper boats are collected and added to each installation, allowing the large vessel to slowly fill.

This iteration of Blessing of the Boats was installed in Belvedere Plaza in Battery Park City, NYC in 2020.