‘Arrivals + Departures’ is a new public memorial in Brooklyn that honors birth, life, and death

March 17, 2021

“Arrivals + Departures” by YARA + DAVINA. Photo © Sam Polcer

Outside the main entrance to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, there’s a new public art installation that “offers a meditation on birth, life, and death through the simple, yet powerful act of naming.” Created by UK-based social practice artists YARA+DAVINA, the memorial called “Arrivals + Departures” takes the shape of a traditional train station arrivals and departures board, listing the names of those who have been born (“arrived”) or passed (“departed”).

YARA + DAVINA are known for creating bold public art that is accessible and playful but responds to its location or time. In an Instagram post, they described what public art means to them: “For us Public Art is art that is truly committed to being accessible to a wider public, not only in its location, but in its content and form.”

In a world where many of us are reconsidering who we honor via public memorial and statues, the artists created “Arrivals + Departures” as a way to engage the public. In addition to celebrating those who were born and commemorating those who passed away, the project also honors those who are living. The first version of this piece was on view last year at London’s Somerset House.

Some of the “departed” names featured include Breonna Taylor, Helen Keller, Homero Gómez González (a Mexican environmental activist who died last year), Baba Chuck Davis (the founder of DanceAfrica at BAM), and someone’s “Granny Helga.” On the “arrivals” side, some of the names are those who were born in 2020, but many are older people being honored.

“Arrivals + Departures” will be on view through April 11. You can submit a name here.

The installation kicks off BAM’s spring 2021 season, which will include a mix of outdoor in-person programming and new virtual events.


“Arrivals + Departures” by YARA + DAVINA. Photos © Sam Polcer

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