Miami International Airport unveils iconic Carybé murals

Thursday night (June 25, 2009) there was a party at Miami International Airport (MIA) to unveil two iconic murals that might have ended up in the trash had it not been for a casual conversation between an airport skycap and a passenger heading home to Brazil.

CARYBE WITH ONE FINISHED MURAL - Courtesy Amerian Airlines

Maybe you remember the two giant, colorful murals that used to be in the east concourse of the old American Airlines terminal at JFK airport in New York.  Created by Brazilian artist Carybé, who won both first and second prize in a 1959 contest to create art for the terminal, the murals are titled Discovery and Settlement of the West and Rejoicing and Festivals of the Americas.

CARYBE PAINTING MURAL - Courtesy American Airlines

These two murals had been part of the terminal since 1960 and at 17 feet tall and more than 50 feet long each, they were hard to miss. They were also hard to care for. Over the years, the colors faded, small coins and other objects embedded in the pieces fell off, and layers of grime and bird droppings accumulated.  So when it came time to demolish the terminal and build a new one, the plan was to destroy the murals along with the building.

But after a woman heading home to Brazil learned what was about to happen to the murals from JFK skycap Darren Hoggard, she went home, made some calls, and eventually American Airlines  donated the murals to Miami-Dade County for display in the new terminal being built at Miami International Airport.

They couldn’t just take the murals off the walls because the artwork had been painted directly onto the walls. So the walls themselves had to be taken down and the murals had to be restored before being trucked, in giant sections, down to the Miami.

Murals in MIA South Terminal now - courstey Steven Brooke Studio

(Photo courtesy Steven Brooke Studio)

Now, the murals are in their new home at Miami International Airport, in the pre-security area of the south terminal, on the 3rd level of the international greeters lobby area.

It’s a great story. And these are really impressive murals.  If you can’t go see them for yourself, check out the photo gallery that accompanies my recent column on these murals.

CARYBE MURAL  CELEBRATION - in MIA - Steve Brooke Studio

(Photo courtesy Steven Brooke studio)

New (renewed) murals coming to Miami Airport

If you traveled through JFK on American Airlines anytime after 1960 and anytime before the airline demolished it’s old terminal in order to build it’s swanky new one, then you may recognize the mural in this photo:


Brazilian artist Carybé painted two murals, each more than 50 feet long, directly onto the terminal walls back in 1960 and those murals were to be razed along with the building.  Luckily, though, the murals were saved.  Now, after being cut from the walls, restored, and trucked to Miami, the artwork has been installed in the new South Terminal at Miami International Airport.

There will be a party to unveil the murals on June 25th and after that anyone will be able to see this impressive works of art anytime: the murals are located before the security checkpoint.

In the meantime, here’s a sneak preview:


To see close-up details of the mural and learn more about the history of the project, see the Carybé at MIA Web site.

Update on MIA’s Carybé murals – the video


Miami International Airport is going to be the new home of the two murals by Brazilian artist Carybé that were part of the American Airlines terminal at JFK since 1960.

Taking the murals out of American’s old JFK terminal wasn’t easy – each mural is 16½ feet by 53 feet. And they weren’t just hung on the walls; it looks like they were painted onto the walls.


Find out about the project and the complicated process of getting the Carybé murals from NY to Miami in this video. Then make a plan to go see the murals in their new home in Miami’s South Terminal, sometime after May 2009.

So that’s where they went: Carbyé JFK murals moving to Miami

Maybe you remember the two giant murals by the Brazilian artist Carybé that used to be in the American Airlines terminal at JFK airport in New York.

At 16.5 X by 53 feet they were hard to miss.

The murals (below), titled Discovery and Settlement and Rejoicing and the Festivals of the Americas, were installed back in 1960. But when it came time to demolish and build a new American Airlines terminal, the site-specific murals were not part of the plan.



Happily, the murals have found a new home – at a different airport.

American Airlines donated the murals to the Miami-Dade County Aviation Department and Odebrecht, the Brazilian company building a new terminal at Miami International Airport (MIA), arranged to have the murals removed, restored, and transported to Miami.

This spring, when MIA’s new South Terminal opens, the murals will be on permanent display.


Can’t wait to see these for real!