Strolling along the High Line in Manhattan, in New York City, we find the mural entitled “I Lift My Lamp Beside the Golden Door”, work of the artist Dorothy Iannone.
The American artist, born in Boston in 1933, is recognized for her works, both paintings, texts and pictorial narratives, with themes of explicit erotic love. Due to its theme, her work was greatly censored by art critics during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Currently 86 years old, she lives and works in Berlin, Germany.
To create this mural, the painter took her inspiration from the poem or sonata “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus, writer from New York of the 19th century. The ancestors of Lazarus, Jews from Portugal, settled in New Amsterdam, now known as New York.
Emma Lazarus wrote the poem to be auctioned as part of the activities and efforts to raise funds for the construction of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. The bronze sculpture was a gift from France to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Independence of the USA.
The message of Lazarus’ poem resulted in an exhortation and invitation for the citizens of the world to arrive to the United States of North America and turn it into their home. Without intending to, she converted her poem “The New Colossus” into the new meaning for the Statue of Liberty, with an extraordinary symbolism of the future.
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door! “
This phrase is included in a bronze plaque on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.