Water’s Soul Sculpture Brings a New Meaning to Jersey City

by Kate Wells
water's soul

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.”


Have you spotted this sculpture on the Hudson River waterfront? #waterssoul #jaumeplensa #jerseycity #newjersey #artinstallation #thingstodoinnj

♬ Lights Are On – Tom Rosenthal

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

About the Author/s

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Kate is a senior at Louisiana State University studying mass communication and political science. Although she moved to Louisiana for college, Kate still lives, eats and breathes everything New Jersey-- especially when it comes to her love of taylor ham egg and cheese, bagels and pizza. She also quite literally took the "jersey girls don't pump gas" with her on her way. Kate found her passion for writing in high school with her various writing courses and having the opportunity to write for her school paper. She took her passion to school with her and hopes to continue writing in her future, always bringing a little taste of New Jersey along the way.

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