Water's Soul: Dedication, grand opening for 80-foot sculpture in Jersey City

JERSEY CITY, New Jersey (WABC) -- A dedication ceremony and grand opening were held in Jersey City Thursday for Water's Soul, an 80-foot tall sculpture by artist Jaume Plensa adjacent to the Hudson River.

Overlooking the Hudson directly across from Lower Manhattan, Water's Soul depicts the serene face of a young subject holding a finger to her lips in a state of silent contemplation.

The sculptural portrait, though monumental in scale, humbly gestures for quietude, a beckoning towards empathetic self-reflection.

"Water is a marvelous metaphor for humanity," Plensa said. "One drop of water is quite alone, like a single person, but many drops together can create a tidal wave, and form immense rivers and oceans. When individuals come together to exchange ideas and create community, we can build something incredibly powerful."

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The pier is now open for year-round public access, located in Newport, a mixed-use development in Jersey City.

The pier's landscaped walkway was designed by Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects and connects to Newport's existing mile-long Hudson River Waterfront Walkway.

"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," Plensa said. "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."

LeFrak and Simon are the chief developers of Newport, and they selected Plensa to create a work for the site, recognizing the artist's ability to convey a message of hope for humanity's future.

"Over the course of three decades, Newport has blossomed into a vibrant, diverse community," LeFrak Organization Chairman and CEO Richard LeFrak said. "We are proud to welcome Jaume Plensa's breathtaking sculpture to this one-of-a-kind neighborhood as we continue to establish Newport within the growing art scene taking shape in Jersey City."

Born in Barcelona where he currently lives and works, Plensa is one of the world's foremost sculptors in the public realm with celebrated projects spanning the globe in New York, Calgary, Chicago, San Diego, Montreal, Los Angeles, London, Dubai, Bangkok, Shanghai, and Tokyo.

Water's Soul is the artist's tallest public sculpture to date.

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"After a generation of incredible work, determination, and investment, this area has been truly transformed from what was once barren land into a vibrant, thriving community," Simon CEO and President David Simon said. "This magnificent Jaume Plensa sculpture is a phenomenal representation of the cultural sense of place that Newport embodies."

Over the past 35 years, Plensa has produced a multifaceted body of work, creating sculptures that speak to the capacity and beauty of humanity, often bringing people together through the activation of public spaces.

In Plensa's works, conventional sculptural materials like glass, steel, and bronze blend with unconventional media such as water, light, and sound to create hybrid works of intricate energy, psychological weight, and symbolic richness.

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