New York
New York  Art at Site Luis Sanguino	The Immigrants

Luis Sanguino

The Immigrants
Battery Place, Battery Park
The Immigrants shows a grouping of people from various countries just arriving in the United States. They stand in a line, possibly waiting for inspection, and approval to enter the country. Standing together in this manner, the members of this varied group are tied together by a highly emotional and daunting common experience. Furthering this impression of the universality of the immigration experience for those entering the United States, the figures in the sculpture, although apparently strangers from different places, are connected through their poses--the outstretched arm of one, for example, touches the shoulder of the next.
The sculpture shows extreme mixed emotions, from the relief of finally stepping ashore, to the anxiety of facing the unknown. The emotion of the piece is evident in the poses of the figures as well as in the rough surface of the bronze. This rough surface also serves to generalize the features of the figures, allowing them to represent not specific people, but the large numbers of people who entered this country through the immigration centers of Battery Park.
The sculpture is located just outside Castle Clinton, a structure that from 1855 to 1890 housed New York's immigration center. Over 7 million immigrants passed through the gates of Castle Clinton into the United States. This period in the immigration service's history was marred by corruption, however, and in a system overhaul, the immigration service was moved first to the Barge Office in 1890 and then to Ellis Island in 1892 [1]. Although sculpted in 1973, The Immigrants was not placed in Battery Park until ten years later.