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Maya Barkai’s Walking Men

Walking Men 99 is a 500-foot-long public art installation by New York-based Israeli artist Maya Barkai. The project features 99 international variations of the ubiquitous traffic light symbol in a life-size installation that wraps around a construction site at 99 Church Street. She elaborates on her website, “The ‘walking man’ is an international celebrity and one of our most recognizable figures. Standardized yet diverse, they commonly show us the safe way of travel.” Diverse indeed–these walking men, placed next to each other in a life-sized photo-collage, come in various colors, types of lighting, styles, and states of undress.

Image courtesy of Maya Barkai

The project came to life through a collaboration with Barkai and amateur photographers from around the world.

Image courtesy of Maya Barkai

I’m particularly curious about the cultural background behind each country’s walking-man icon and the decisions that went into each design. Perhaps a book should be made… but until then, fellow pedestrians can view the installation through January 15th, 2011 and infer for themselves!

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