Reading Between the Crosswalk: On the Significance of Pedestrian Icons

Have you ever noticed that the image of little man (it's usually a man) in pedestrian traffic icons differs depending on which country you're in? Artist Maya Barkai has, and her new project seeks to explore what these guys say about their culture.

Jessica Yu looks at the work of Israeli-born, New York-based artist Maya Barkai, whose latest project, Walking Men worldwide™ uses a photographic collage of pedestrian traffic icons presented in human scale to probe the cultural beliefs infused into crosswalk signals.

"Ubiquitous as safe-crossing symbols are, the pictograms used for them are surprisingly diverse across the globe—in color, shape, detail, direction and even gender," notes Yu. "Their various forms can be seen on the streets of Sydney as a part of the ongoing Art & About Sydney art festival, which runs through Oct. 20."

"From the sparsely dotted Chinese walking man to the top-hat-wearing, cane-bearing Dane, almost a hundred 'walking men' are displayed life-size on banners that line the sidewalk."

Full Story: What Do Pedestrian Traffic Icons Say About Your Culture?

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