Hundreds of independent art and museums spaces were forced to close due to the Corona-Crisis. In this series we are celebrating the fantastic artistic events that are right now sitting behind closed doors. Delve deeper into Kara Walker's fountain, built in 2019 for the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern, London. Fons Americanus questions how history is remembered in public monuments and presents a narrative on the origins of the African diaspora.
Hyundai Commission: Kara Walker: Fons Americanus, 2019. Tate Modern. Photo courtesy and copyright: Ben Fisher
Fons Americanus is inspired by the Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace, London. The memorial was designed in 1901 and unveiled in 1911 to honour the achievements of Queen Victoria who was the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1837–1901), as well as the Empress of India. Rather than a celebration of the British Empire, Kara Walker’s fountain inverts the usual function of a memorial and questions narratives of power. Walker explores the interconnected histories of Africa, America and Europe. She uses water as a key theme, referring to the transatlantic slave trade and the ambitions, fates and tragedies of people from these three continents. Bringing together fact, fantasy and fiction, Fons Americanus stands as a representation of this narrative in the form of an allegory or fable.