Hank Willis Thomas: All Power to All People

public plaza, 1280 Fifth Avenue, New York, United States
12 Apr 2019 - 07 Jul 2019

Hank Willis Thomas, All power to all people, 2017. At Philadelphia's City Hall. Mural Arts Photo by Steve Weinik

Hank Willis Thomas, All power to all people, 2017. At Philadelphia's City Hall. Mural Arts Photo by Steve Weinik

On April 12, The Africa Center in partnership with Kindred Arts Cultural Equity Initiative, will be unveiling All Power to All People, a larger than life outdoor steel sculpture that celebrates cultural identities in the African diaspora. The installation will stand as a powerful symbol on the streets of Harlem. It will be located on the public plaza, adjacent to The Africa Center at 1280 Fifth Avenue, and will be on display through July 7th. In addition to the monument, the installation will include a series of exciting public programs.

Standing 25 feet tall, All Power to All People is a testament to a storied culture and history. The Afro Pick exists today as many things to different people: It is representative not only of an era, but a sound and a counter culture. It is a uniting motif, worn as adornment, a political emblem, and a signature of collective identity.

This stylized, scalable adaptation of the iconic Afro Pick was conceived of by conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas and crafted by master fabricator Jeff Schomberg. All Power To All People’s placement at The Africa Center will stand as a powerful symbol of community, strength, perseverance, comradeship, equal justice and belonging. Thomas’ previous works have been exhibited widely at institutions including Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain; SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA; California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA.

“I’m thrilled to bring this important installation to Harlem,” said Kindred Arts Director Marsha Reid. “Representation matters and this monumental art is placed here at The Africa Center in the heart of the community, with the purpose of inspiring conversation and facilitating a space where communities might affirm cultural citizenship and freely express identity”.

“The Afro Pick is a symbol of global Black identity and solidarity that unites Africa and its diaspora, something that lies at the heart of The Africa Center’s mission,” said The Africa Center’s CEO, Uzodinma Iweala. “I am delighted to have such a powerful inaugural installation for our plaza. Working with cutting-edge artists and curators like Hank & Marsha is a dream come true for The Africa Center.”

The All Power to All People unveiling event is scheduled for April 12, To RSVP for the event, please contact allpower@kindredarts.org by April 5.

Presented in partnership with the New York City Department of Transportation’s Art Program and made possible in part with funding from the Center’s Board of Trustees, Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation and administered by LMCC.

About Kindred Arts – A cultural equity initiative that explores the significance of public sites & their function in enriching communities. Kindred Arts builds outdoor, culturally specific arts programs that support tradition, history and ritual. Each program an affirmation of cultural citizenship, identity, and inclusion, the initiatives are a means to activate civic dialogue and to resist the incremental erasure of public cultural expression and artistic freedoms. For All Power touring information please visit www.kindredarts.org.

About The Africa Center – The first institution of its kind – uniquely focused on a multidisciplinary approach to contemporary Africa and the continent’s diaspora. With a mission encompassing policy, business and culture, The Africa Center is committed to an integrated approach for understanding all aspects of the African continent, including transforming narratives. The Center’s first year of programming is an opportunity to experiment and test cultural programming, including the intersections with policy and business, with the range of audiences that The Africa Center targets. For more information, visit www.TheAfricaCenter.org.


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