Photo: KJ Kerr
NEW YORK, New York – June 24, 2021 – On Friday, June 25 at 8 a.m. EST the Blank Slate: Hope For a New America sculpture will be unveiled at Times Square in New York City accompanied by acclaimed Ghanaian artist Kwame Akoto-Bamfo, and with the support of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.
The statue will remain on public display until 7 p.m. EST in Times Square to ignite a dialogue on hope and healing, making additional stops in Fort Greene and Harlem, before continuing on a national tour of U.S. cities this summer.
At a pivotal time for racial justice in America, where law enforcement brutality and gun violence have taken the lives of Eric Garner, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Trayvon Martin, Duante Wright, and innumerable others in the past year, this mobile art installation was created by Ghanaian Artist Kwame Akoto-Bamfo as a bold counterpoint and challenge to the more than 1,800 Confederate monuments and symbols still on display in public spaces across the United States. The Blank Slate statue is traveling on a flatbed truck to cities that are important to African American history, including those with a painful legacy of racial injustice and Black perseverance such as Louisville, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Selma, and Birmingham. It will remain on display in Birmingham, Alabama until March 2022 when it is moved to a permanent location, determined by a multi-city bidding process.
The official New York City programming includes:
Unveiling Ceremony for Blank Slate in New York City (Friday, June 25 at 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. EST)
● At Times Square Military Plaza between 43rd and 44th Street in Manhattan
● Artist Kwame Akoto-Bamfo will be in attendance.
● The Blank Slate statue will be available to the public for observation, reflection, and participation in the conversation through an interactive Blank Slate screen at the top of the monument.
Public Viewing in Harlem (Saturday, June 26 at 1 p.m. – 8 p.m. EST)
● At the Teranga African Chop House at 1280 5th Ave, New York, NY 10029
A celebration of African Culture bringing together a community around food, drinks, music, and art.
Akoto-Bamfo’s mission behind the statue and tour is to use art to forward the racial and social justice movements, help inspire the healing of the nation, and elevate the voices of the silenced and oppressed by giving people a platform to let themselves be heard. There must be more public recognition of black art and artists. Akoto-Bamfo, best known for his outdoor “Nkyinkyim Installation” sculpture dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Transatlantic slave trade displayed at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, created the Blank Slate statue to challenge the overwhelming prevalence of this legacy by raising awareness of the entrenched issues in each city and inspire a dialogue for a more hopeful future. The statue is unapologetic in its representation of American history in the midst of today’s racial crisis and is a visual representation of the evolution of the African-American experience and struggle— from the millions of enslaved men and women who were crucial to the foundation of the U.S., to the Black soldiers who died fighting in the Civil War, to the more recent lives of those taken by law enforcement.
“I am always excited to see work that inspires conversation and thinking. This piece represents a global issue, and it is an important contribution as we speak as a united diaspora against systemic oppression. Well done, my Ghanaian brother,” said Stanley Lumax, the Ghanaian founder of African Chop House.
For more information, visit www.blankslatemonument.com.