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Friday, May 19, 2017

Checkmate: Why chessboards are popping up on NYC streets


That someone is likely Lara Alcantara, who, along with some 120 volunteers, placed 55 of these guerrilla installations throughout the five boroughs — two have even made it to New Jersey. The works aim to raise awareness of the violent protests and government brutality ravaging her native Venezuela under its authoritarian president, Nicolás Maduro. “As an expat dealing with not being in Venezuela while seeing everything that’s going on, it’s difficult,” says Alcantara, 38. “I’m not a politician, but I thought, ‘How, as an artist, can I raise awareness?’ ” The idea came to her while she was working on another installation, one depicting scenes from her childhood in Caracas and featuring a chessboard. That classic game of power moves “was the perfect metaphor” for the doings in Venezuela, says the Murray Hill resident, who moved to New York in 1999. More…

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