Monumental Tour debuts artwork honoring African American history

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A new traveling outdoor art exhibit will soon arrive in Philadelphia, and with it, an opportunity for empowerment. 

As part of Monumental Tour, Kindred Arts is presenting acclaimed artists Arthur Jafa, Coby Kennedy, Christopher Myers, and Hank Willis Thomas in a group showing of sculptures across the City of Philadelphia. These titans of contemporary art appear as a part of the traveling outdoor art exhibit on display from Sept. 22, 2021 to Jan. 31, 2022, at four locations along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and Delaware River Waterfront. 

Situated on carefully considered public sites, the works call attention to each artist’s distinct visual voice and engage with one another in a curated discourse. Collectively, the works honor and examine aspects of the African American experience, from the first slaves brought over in the 16th century to the present-day prison pipeline, and the struggle for liberation in between.

Individually, the sculptures invite the viewer to consider themes such as colonization, oppression, privilege, Black middle-class labor, and the decline of industry, Black pride, Black power, Black joy, and subjugation. Each work is an invitation to viewers from any background to learn about and connect with a narrative or era they may not have endured personally, but one which continues to impact the African American experience. 

The Philadelphia iteration of the tour marks the first time these four works will be displayed simultaneously. Those interested in learning about the works and seeking information on public programs can visit the exhibit virtually at www.monumentaltour.org

The tour will also honor the monumental achievements of Julian Francis Abele, Philadelphia’s first pioneering African American Architect born in Philadelphia in 1881. Despite his many significant contributions, Abele remained virtually unknown outside Philadelphia’s architectural community. Abele is now appreciated as one of the early 20th century’s most adept designers of revival buildings; such as The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and The Central Branch Of The Free Library of Philadelphia.

Michael Spain, Director of Education at Center for Architecture and Design (CFAD) honors Abele’s architectural contributions with a walking audio that spans the length of the exhibit. The tour can be found at www.monumentaltour.org 

 

WORKS & LOCATIONS 

 

Hank Willis Thomas: ALL POWER TO ALL PEOPLE 

Eakins Oval, 2451 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy

 

Christopher Myers: CALIBAN’S HANDS 

Shakespeare Park, Benjamin Franklin Pkwy

 

Coby Kennedy: KALIEF BROWDER THE BOX 

Thomas Paine Plaza, 1401 John F Kennedy Blvd. 

 

Arthur Jafa: BIG WHEEL IV 

Cherry Street Pier, 121 North Columbus Boulevard

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