Black Atlantic
May 17, 2022 - November 27, 2022
Brooklyn Bridge Park:
334 Furman St,
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Popping up throughout Brooklyn Bridge Park are site-responsive artworks by Leila Babirye, Hugh Hayden, Dozie Kanu, Tau Lewis, and Kiyan Williams—makers who came of age during an era of globalization and digital connectedness yet share a commitment to material exploration. As a whole, the works create an exchange of ideas among artists of a similar generation and subvert monolithic notions of Blackness. “I was drawn to the idea of assembling a group of sculptors whose practice involves material exploration and an element of the handmade,” says Hayden, who conceived of the show alongside the Public Art Fund adjunct curator Daniel S. Palmer. “It speaks to the idea of materializing a vision for the future and crafting your own identity.” 

The historic Brooklyn waterfront served as a colonial-era ferry landing, maritime harbor, and vital shipping port through the 1970s, and formed part of the network linking Africa and Europe with the Americas and the Caribbean. “Black Atlantic”—named after the book by Paul Gilroy—explores these threads of connection and highlights the complex identities that developed through this exchange over centuries along transatlantic routes. Among the highlights: Hayden’s own wooden wrecked dinghy that nods to Winslow Homer and Kerry James Marshall, a concrete chaise that evokes psychoanalysis by Kanu, and Babirye’s groups of totemic sculptures adorned with jewelry-like metallic flourishes. 

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