Carolina Echeverri Valle: Miami As Text 2021-2022

Downtown As Text

Photograph taken by Carolina Echeverri Valle/CC by 4.0

“Multiculturalism,” by Carolina Echeverri Valle of FIU at Downtown Miami on September 8, 2021. 

When we started the walk around Downtown, I didn’t really know what to expect. Downtown Miami holds so much history, art and culture that it was hard to determine what we would focus on. However, I was amazed at what I saw. 

As young adults who live in Miami, we are surrounded with people who come from diverse places, who have generational varying ethnicities, people who have been brought up in different ways. What unites us? Our lovely Miami. As we walked through historic buildings, such as The Wagner House and Fort Dallas which were located one in front of the other, we truly grasped what Miami is all about. This city has seen indigenous tribes getting kicked out of the land, slavery, and the division of colored people; however, it has also seen the growth of multiculturalism that happens on a day to day basis. People from all over the world move to Miami in hopes of getting a better life. We can see it through Coosje Van Bruggen’s and Claes Oldenburg’s ‘Dropped Bowl with Scattered Slices and Peels’, a massive public artwork. 

Personally, I saw this art piece as a representation of the diversity that Miami has. Miami grows everyday. Currently people from Venezuela are coming over to flee their political, social and economic situation. Nonetheless, Cubans, Hatians and people from other countries in South and Central America have come to Miami in hopes of having a life with better opportunities and a freer life. Miami has been the home of many immigrants, including myself. I came here looking for better educational opportunities, and my parents also lived here in the past due to work openings. The scattered oranges and peels represent the continuous increase of people in Miami. It’s like a mandarin was thrown to the floor and it exploded.

When I first saw this piece of art, it appeared very colorful and full of life, each part of it being different and separated. Miami has neighborhoods that are all so distinct from each other. For instance, Brickell is known for its fancy restaurants and beautiful tall buildings, while Little Havana is known for its people and vibrant environment. This fusion of places and cultures are what make Miami what it is: a city full of life, diversity, a variety of places to eat and activities to do and a place where people want to be. Especially with the COVID-19 pandemic, many decided to move to Miami and be by the beach, in a place with a warm and dreamy weather, where life is like we’re on vacation. The scattered slices and peels are all those distinct pieces that make up Miami: the neighbourhoods, people, food, cultures, activities, weather, etc. 

At the end of the day, the past and present of Miami can be summed up by Van Bruggen and Oldenburg’s artwork. Will the future of Miami keep being this multicultural land?