Gallery: Giant Buddha Made of Hats, Umbrellas and Other Hipsterish Stuf...

The statue's elbow is an umbrella.

“Queen Mother of Reality” is a 50-foot-long form that at first glance resembles a reclining deity like one you might see in Asia. Take a closer look though and you’ll find that the Buddha-like figure has an umbrella for an elbow, gold electronics for a necklace and a nipple made out of a bushel. The enormous statue was also designed with an open back that acts as an inner room symbolizing a temporary shelter for the evicted mothers of New York. Althamer modeled the piece after Queen Mother Dr. Delois Blakely, an influential figure in Harlem who has been recognized for her social justice work in the community.

Unfortunately, the Queen Mother may not be around for much longer since the Parks Department ordered its removal last night, stating that it was not a properly permitted work. Performa, however, argued that it was granted permission to erect the artwork by Biba, the waterfront bar directly adjacent to the site where the statue sits. The Queen Mother was still there last night when we visited but had been surrounded by yellow tape.

+ Queen Mother of Reality

Photos ©Yuka Yoneda


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  1. jameswilson November 26, 2013 at 11:38 am

    New York mothers facing eviction…and being booted out of their homes…chucking their few belongings out the windows….careful with the children….and the man says; wait until it gets really cold, high winds, snow, ice, sleet…Speak of cold, yell-it: a cold heart…
    Buddha should be hollow, with doors and heat…come into the body of the Buddha…spend a few nights…

  2. Aaron Burr-Society November 23, 2013 at 10:50 am

    The statue honors Queen Mother, Buddha Mother, all mothers, the universal mother and Mother Earth. She is located in Williamsburg in the shadows of luxury condo. This public artwork is about gentrification, displacement and the meaning of social justice, economic and environmental sustainability globally and in local communities. Queen Mother of Harlem protects woman from eviction as her building in Harlem is fighting against foreclosure.

    This is our gift to NYC 137 years after the French gave America the Statue of Liberty. Queen Mother/Mother Earth is the twin sister of Lady Liberty and like the original proposal by the French she is African American. With Queen Mother/Mother Earth we are calling for a renaissance of Liberty based on Mother Earth the source of life, sustenance and sustainability. When we treat Mother Earth with respect and dignity we have abundance; when we abuse and disrespect Mother Earth we have super storms and austerity. In the 21st Century we ask what does is the meaning of all people are created equal? What does Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness mean in the 21st Century?

    We believe that in the 21st Century people and environment must come before profits.

    Pawel Althamer, Noah Fischer, Roman Stańczak, Rafal Zwirek, Szymon Althamer, Bruno Althamer and Aaron Burr Society