Kenseth Armstead, Boulevard of African Monarchs
Project Team Members (Powerhouse Arts Staff): Kenseth Armstead, Art Domantay, Jeremy Gender, Vaneik Echeverria, Daniel Vissac
Powerhouse Arts’ Project Management team was hired to install Kenseth Armstead’s Boulevard of African Monarchs, at the corner of 116th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue, in the heart of Harlem. Described by the artist as a “hub of African excellence in America”, this freestanding piece is the first sculpture of Armstead’s Sankofa_ series. The work samples traditional patterns of Tiebele house paintings by women artists that predate the triangular transatlantic slave trade.
The public sculpture celebrates Africans, their diaspora, and today’s Black Lives Matter movement. It also acts as a memorial dedicated to Emmett Till, Tanisha Anderson, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, among the many who have been lynched in America. Each of the works in the series is inspired by the word “Sankofa,” which means “go back and get it” in Twi language.
Commissioned for the location by the Department of Transportation and the Marcus Garvey Park Alliance, the artwork is composed of 10-foot tall hand-cut aluminum plates and is painted with shoe polish.
See more of Armstead’s work on his website.