7×7 (Hope)

September 12, 2020 – September 11, 2021.

2020, Site-specific installation, pine, black pine tar, LED light, solar panel, 7′ x 5′ x 7′

Installed by the Meadow lake at the Flushing Meadows Corona park in Queens, New York City.

Coordinates 40°44’21.8″N 73°50’28.7”W

Finnish born, Queens based artist Laura Lappi’s 7 x 7 (Hope) explores issues of space in New York City and the cost of living and housing, and how that impacts many communities. With this sculpture, Lappi draws attention especially to immigrant communities and their living conditions in Queens. While Queens is the New York City’s most culturally diverse borough welcoming immigrants from different backgrounds, its housing affordability is often out of a reach for many people. The article “Underground Lives: The Sunless World of Immigrants in Queens” in the New York Times, addressed this issue in a very touching way. The article focused on illegal basement home conversions which are not only dangerous but often small, windowless dark rooms were people in some cases even have to sleep in shifts for hope for a better future. 

“Underneath the borough lives a shadow city of illegal apartments, shielded from the light.” 1. 

The sculpture consists of a black wooden house structure built with wooden beams that are installed in columns, leaving a space between each beam. The public will be able to see through it but will not be able to get inside, the house has no windows or doors. The size of the sculpture is seven feet long, five feet wide and seven feet high, referring to the size of the small, illegal, basement room. Each wall has an embedded letter, creating a word H-O-P-E. Inside the structure a light is making the sculpture visible and glowing during the twilight hours and in darkness.

7×7 (Hope) is Lappi’s second site-specific work of the series of house structures exploring notions of home, belonging, loneliness and yearning. The first house 2×3 (Heartbeat) was installed in 2013 on a rocky outcropping in a remote forest in Finland. 

Now in its second year, the Art in the Parks: Alliance for Flushing Meadows Corona Park Grant supports the creation of two (2) site-specific artworks by Queens-based artists for designated locations within Flushing Meadows Corona Park that would benefit from more cultural programming. The grant transforms these sites into art destinations through a series of rotating exhibitions, with supporting events and programs. Generously funded by the Alliance, each grantee received an award to create their proposed artwork.

The mission of the Alliance for Flushing Meadows Corona Park is to support NYC Parks to preserve, maintain, and improve Flushing Meadows Corona Park for the benefit and use of the surrounding communities and all New Yorkers. As stewards, we aspire to raise awareness and engage the community by caring for the natural environment, preserving our history, and providing exceptional amenities and programming. We are committed to making the park accessible for all to enjoy, now and for future generations. Partnering with NYC Parks and supporting local Queens artists is a natural extension of our mission.

  1. Nikita Stewart, Ryan Christopher Jones, Sergio Peçanha, Jeffrey Furticella, and Josh Williams, “Underground Lives: The Sunless World of Immigrants in Queens”, New York Times, October 23, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/10/23/nyregion/basements-queens-immigrants.html

Photos Rick Eikmans.