Keith Haring started his public career by drawing in chalk on the black, blank advertising spaces of the New York subway. This drawing shows a winged mermaid, hovering above two dolphins. Although this piece was created before he visited Brazil, on his frequent trips there Haring learned from local fishermen of Yemanjá, the water goddess who transforms from dolphin to human, and finally back to dolphin again. After that, he referred to his character as Yemanjá, and both she and the dolphins are a recurring motif in his work.
Untitled Subway Drawing 13
Keith Haring (1958 – 1990) was an American artist, and one of the leading figures of the graffiti art movement which emerged from New York in the 1980s. Haring rose to International acclaim after creating spontaneous chalk drawings on blank advertising spaces in New York subway stations. His work reflected a profound commitment to social justice and activism, raising issues that remain relevant today, including the AIDS crisis, racism, and environmental degradation. He was a champion for public access to art in his lifetime, and established the Keith Haring Foundation in 1989, which provides funding and imagery to charities working with AIDS and youth programmes, and brings his work to a wider audience.