Client: The Austin–Bergstrom International Airport or ABIA / City of Austin cultural art division
Location: Austin, TX, United States
Completion date: 2019
Artwork budget: $85,000
Fabrication / design
Olaniyi R. Akindiya Akirash
The concept of the piece addresses the history and significance of living in this community, in this city, both enriching community connection and educating those visiting from outside Austin. While researching the project, I visited ABIA at all hours of day and night to get a deep look into what the community of ABIA entails. I observed, engaged and interacted with staff and travelers, collecting stories, materials and world currencies that will be woven into this piece.
The ABIA Airport is an open space which welcomes everyone, a place where many people cross paths that otherwise would not. It does not discriminate on origin, religion, economic status or language. The Airport has the potential to be a place of refuge from what separates us, to allow us to just be present, in this space, at this moment. This work utilizes the power of Art to demonstrate the unity that this space brings out in everyone that steps into it.
This work looks deep into the function of ABIA within Austin, as place of business, where people meet, arrive and depart. The ABIA gives both the first and last impressions of Austin to visitors.
I have traveled so much in my time as both an artist and an immigrant, spending hours and days in airports, sleeping and living in temporary homelessness. There is something about airports that puts us all on the same level, removing the barriers of social status and nationality. For a while, we are all just travelers, together. This work speaks to these in between, definition-less moments, both positive and problematic.
My work standing at the intersection of creative engagement described as transdisciplinary art, my work explores the invisible systems of power that govern everyday existence. My works and performative activities play around social subjectivities with dramatic components, breaking down the conventional barriers, sparking dialogue.
In my work, I am very flexible in choosing materials. I leave space to work with any materials best fit to the specific space and that can best communicate my thoughts to the audience. I incorporated materials that are commonly found at the ABIA Airport, from the entrance, to check in, baggage claim, flight exchange, security and hospitality and some are also collected from passengers or travelers I spoke to or interacted with it.
The currencies , the stamps, were an exchange with passagers that passthrough the ABIA airport during the process of the the project.