Client: New York Parks & Recreation
Location: New York, NY, United States
Completion date: 2016
Artwork budget: $12,000
Deputy Director of Art & Antiquities
New York Parks & Recreation
FLUX Public Art Fair
‘Crosshairs’ afro comb piece – High-density plastic and metal (metal rods powder coated to resist the elements). (20 lbs)
Afro comb body. (H) 21″x (W)14″x 2″ (D)
Metal rods for teeth of comb 52″ (H)
Total height of piece before anchoring in ground. 72″ (H)
Base – cement for weight to anchor. (40 lbs)
Area approximation 4 ft sq. [no maintenance required]
The 70's afro comb made by M.A. Industries originally was a signifier for Black unity but was "caste" as a symbol for Black Power movement by the mainstream media. There is a certain irony of one being in their natural state but viewed as nonconforming; which leads one to question whether there is room for acceptance from any other point of view than dominant culture. "Crosshairs" plays on the fact of what makes you powerful, might also make you targeted.
My sculpture draws some additional inspiration from an exhibition in the Fitzwilliams Museum in Cambridge, UK, entitled "The Origins of the Afro Comb" (2013). This exhibition was a collaboration between the Petrie Museum (Egyptian Archaeology) in London and the Fitzwilliam Museum (Archaeology and Anthropology) in Cambridge. It draws to mind how in many African societies, ancient and modern, the hair comb symbolizes status, group affiliation, and religious beliefs, and is encoded with ritual properties. The handles of combs are decorated with objects of status, such as the headrest, human figures, and motifs that reference nature and the traditional spiritual world.
Submissions Due: Submissions will be reviewed through Jan 2016 on a rolling basis
Selections Announced: On or before February 15
Public announcement: March 15
Installation: April 25 through May 2
Public Days: May 3 to 31
De-Installation June 1 to June 9
This project came about as a recommendation from a friend while I was completing my Masters of Fine Arts degree at Tufts University in conjunction with the School Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. It was my last semester and this was my first public art piece. I undertook this endeavor as a way of getting into the public arts space. The piece was extremely successful as I adapted the colors of the target to red, black and green to honor Marcus Garvey and the Pan-African flag. The piece was installed at the entrance of Marcus Garvey Park (120th Street & 5th Avenue) on a crest to force the viewers gaze upward as a way of changing the view/perspective. 'Crosshairs' as a sculpture has a lot of refernces to the body as there is a head, neck, shoulders, body and legs. One of the most rewarding aspects of public art deals with ownership vs. authorship; while I am the author of the public art I believe to people and community truly own the piece by the way they embrace art as a part of their environment.