Mexican artist takes his environmental message to New York

New York, Mexican artist Gilberto Aceves Navarro is using 122 bicycle sculptures placed around New York City to urge people to get moving, enjoy their freedom and protect the environment.

"I have learned that you should not be subject to anything," the 83-year-old artist said, referring to the guiding principle in his career.

The bicycle sculptures, which weigh 550 kg, took some time to put in place but will be on display until September.

One of the pieces is on display on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, which offers phenomenal views of the Lower Manhattan skyline, while others are at Prospect Park and in Chinatown.

Installation of the bicycle sculptures - each made of steel and unique - was finished last week, getting the artist's message out to New Yorkers and the world.

"It's a request," Navarro said in a telephone interview with Efe news agency. "I want people to pay more attention to the extremely serious problem of pollution."

"We have to recognise that our actions on land, in the sea and everywhere, the only thing they leave behind is trash, trash, trash, and we have to figure out how to change," Navarro, who tries to travel in the most environmentally friendly way possible, said.

Navarro, who worked as an assistant to David Alfaro Siqueiros in the 1950s and won Mexico's National Fine Arts Prize, is now confined to a wheelchair due to his frail condition.

The artist oversaw the installation of the sculptures with the assistance of his son, Juan Aceves, who lives in New York.

The bicycles are painted in red, white, black and orange, inspired by the colours of Mayan burial vaults, with orange replacing yellow in the colour scheme.

This is the first time that Navarro's bicycle sculptures have been displayed outside Mexico.

The artist, however, is not a stranger to the US, where his work has been shown at the Brooklyn Museum and at the La Joya Gallery in Los Angeles.

Navarro has also exhibited his work in Brazil, Cuba, Chile, Colombia, Japan, Spain and Germany.

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