Out of One, Many

I came across this EarthCam the other day which gives a live feed from the top of the Washington Monument. It’s fun to look at on any ole day but right now gives a particularly captivating look at a current art installation on the National Mall. In the camera view, the work of artist Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada is on the left side of the Reflecting Pool. The dirt and sand portrait, called “Out of Many, One,” echoes the Latin phrase seen on the seal of the United States, “E Pluribus Unum.” The portrait was envisioned “to create a dialogue around the ideas of individuality, community, and place,” says Rodríguez-Gerada. It is of no one in particular and, at the same time, of every one.

It’s fitting the portrait was installed in the nation’s capital and at a national park. Its themes are alive and well throughout the monuments and memorials of the Capital Parks region of Washington, D.C. and at many more national park units which celebrate diversity. From the well-known Statue of Liberty National Monument (including Ellis Island) and Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial to the lesser-known African Burial Ground National Monument and César E. Chávez National Monument, dozens of national park units remind us of all the colors, cultures and credos which unite us in differentness. Frederick Douglass (whose life and work are interpreted at a phenomenal historic site) said, “We differ as the waves, but are one as the sea.”

See how the portrait looks from space, watch a video on how it was created, and read more from the artist at the Smithsonian National Portrait Galley site.

Learn more about the National Park Service.

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© Heather Hansen

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