© Amanda Matthews, Prometheus Art
The Girl Puzzle Monument Honoring Nellie Bly
Roosevelt Island, New York City, NY
© Artist, Amanda Matthews
Nellie Bly told the stories of other women. Now, we tell hers.
Although her life and legacy include broad professional experience as a journalist, women’s rights advocate, suffragist, WWI correspondent, inventor/patent holder, industrialist, and humanitarian, a common thread for Nellie Bly is that she experienced the plight of those who are marginalized. She wrote stories that would move the needle toward equality and progress, especially for women. Highly regarded as America’s first investigative journalist, she set a precedent for what it means to be a voice for the voiceless.
Bly gave a voice and a face to women who had no visibility or prominence in society.
The Girl Puzzle honors Nellie Bly by presenting, on a monumental scale, faces of many women who have endured hardship, but are stronger for it. The monument gives visibility to Asian, Black, Young, Old, Immigrant, and Queer women. Their stories and lives are forever commemorated alongside Nellie Bly, whose face is cast in silver bronze, while the other four faces are cast in bronze. Each of them, rendered in partial sections that appear like giant puzzle pieces, show a depth of emotion and complexity of being broken and repaired. As the viewer approaches and enters, they become part of the puzzle by interacting with the reflective surfaces and seeing sections of the faces come together at different vantage points.
This installation is dually inspired by Bly's incredible response to bigotry which became her first published headline in 1885, The Girl Puzzle; and by her seminal work, Ten Days in a Madhouse, that shaped her life of dedication and empathy for others.
Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, RIOC
New York, NY
Amanda Matthews and Brad Connell, Owners
The LiRo Group
New York, NY
Senior Project Manager
Prince R. Shah, CCM
Pyramid Consulting, Structural and Civil Engineers
Mohammad Seraji, PE
The Roberts Group
Vaughn Roberts Hill, PE