Harlem, NY- The New York City Department of Transportation’s Art Program, Harlem based non-profit, the Marcus Garvey Park Alliance and New York-based artist Kenseth Armstead are pleased to announce the installation of, Boulevard of African Monarchs, within the pedestrian refuge on 116th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Blvd/St. Nicholas Avenue in Manhattan.
In Boulevard of African Monarchs, Armstead connects Harlem, a hub of African excellence in America, to Tiebele, Burkina Faso, royal court of the Kassena people, in Western Africa. The 10’ x 10’ x 15’ sculpture transforms traditional Tiebele house paintings by women artists, a tradition that predates the triangular transatlantic slave trade, into an open freestanding sculpture where the public can gather, journey and connect. Boulevard of African Monarchs is the first sculpture in Armstead’s Sankofa_ series. The works celebrate Africans and their diaspora, proclaiming Black Lives Matter in three dimensions. Sankofa_ honors, in monumental form, Black beauty, free in the public square. Each site-specific work in the project series is inspired by, “Sankofa” a word in the Twi language that means “go back and get it.”
About Kenseth Armstead: Kenseth Armstead has created provocative conceptual art for three decades. His work has been included in pivotal explorations of history, American culture, ethnicity, and institution defining moments. Armstead tirelessly works to explore difficult terrain, new histories, complex identities and nuanced subjects with art. He seeks to create beauty out of the connection to and honoring of the invisible and forgotten in American Culture. Selected historic exhibitions which include his work are: Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary Art at the Whitney Museum of American Art; Frames of Reference: Reflections on Media at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Race in Digital Space at the MIT List Visual Arts Center; Veni Vidi Video at the Studio Museum in Harlem (their first video exhibition in 2003); Open House: Working in Brooklyn at the Brooklyn Museum; "Edited at EAI": Video Interference at Electronic Arts Intermix (celebrating 45 years of their award winning collection); Modern Heroics, 75 years of African American Expressionism at the Newark Museum; and recently, Washington 20/20/20 in Union Square Park, New York City. For more information on Armstead’s extensive portfolio, visit www.kensetharmstead.com. @kenseth.armstead