Internationally renowned artist, Jaume Plensa, debuted his sculpture “Water’s Soul” in the Newport section of Jersey City, bringing newfound symbolism to the area. The 80-foot sculpture depicts a woman at the edge of the Hudson River, looking ahead with her eyes closed in serenity and holding her hand up to her lips.
The Meaning Behind Water’s Soul in NJ
She is meant to symbolize self-reflection, moving toward the future, and the importance of water in our lives as she faces the New York City skyline.
Plensa, describes this symbolism in his dedication:
“Our bodies are 60% water. 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water.
Water is the basis of all life. Water’s Soul is asking us for a bit of silence, it is asking us to listen to its profound voice that speaks to us about the origin of the world and its memory.
The Lenape, the native Americans who lived in this land before us, were a deeply religious people and they believed that all things had souls. I believe in the spirit of water too, and its great capacity of connection and transformation.
Water is the great ‘public space,’ space that does not belong to anyone and at the same time belongs to all of us.
Water’s Soul is Newport’s figurehead moving through the water into the future.”
The Sculpture’s Impact on Jersey City
The new sculpture, which lies on the Newport Pier and connects to the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway, was commissioned by the Lefrak and Simon Property Group. The work was built in Plensa’s Barcelona studio and shipped to the site in 20 containers to be assembled.
In an interview discussing the artwork, Plensa said, “It is my wish for Water’s Soul to become an icon for Newport and a landmark that visually connects it with New York City across the Hudson River. Just as Water’s Soul acts to unite the city of Jersey City and New York City, we are reminded that water is the great public space that unites and embraces communities as well as people around the world.”
Through his many interviews regarding the sculpture, it can be understood that the sculpture’s message is to stay silent and listen to the profound noise of the water talking to us.
The sculpture is a permanent installment where visitors can walk along the river, enjoy the masterful artwork, and see the New York City skyline. This piece is one of many human face sculptures Plensa has been commissioned to do.
Calling this piece one of the most beautiful sculptures in his lifetime, visitors can see its beauty all year-round at Newport Pier.
Main image by Abby Montanez