JFK’s Trash is MIA’s Treasure

New York's leftover airport art coming to Miami

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Two massive murals by a Brazilian artist, which hung in the American Airlines terminal at JFK Airport in New York for 50 years and were nearly destroyed, will soon hang in the South Terminal at Miami International Airport.

The artwork, Rejoicing and Festivals of the Americas and The Discovery and Settlement of the West, by Carybé, have been restored at a cost of nearly $2 million and will be unveiled at MIA on June 25.

The 16 1/2-foot by 51-foot murals would have been lost forever if it weren't for a AA baggage porter, who had mentioned to a Brazilian passenger that the JFK terminal, along with the artwork, was being demolished.

The passenger told a Carybé family friend and board member of Odebrecht Construction, which financed the expensive removal and restoration of the paintings. A team of six people worked for nine months to restore the paintings, which were cut into 12 panels to be shipped from New York to Miami.

"This was an unplanned but very welcome addition to our terminal," Miami-Dade Aviation Director José Abreu told the Miami Herald. "It's a nice welcome for passengers."

Carybé was born in Argentina in 1911 and later became a Brazilian citizen. He died in 1997.

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