(NEWARK, NJ) -- Four Corners Public Arts (FCPA) has announced the completion of a new public artwork, Will You Be My Monument, located on Treat Place in the Central Ward of Newark, NJ. This artwork was conceived and created by writer Salamishah Tillet of New Arts Justice at Rutgers University - Newark, designer Chantal Fischzang, and photographer Scheherazade Tillet.
Will You Be My Monument was inspired by the City of Newark’s removal of the Columbus statue in Washington Park on June 25, 2020 and features a photograph by Scheherazade Tillet of Faatina, an eight-year-old Black girl who celebrated her eighth birthday in Washington Park that night.
"Black girls are our most significant cultural producers, community connectors, and powerful organizers, but their contributions are rarely recognized or appreciated," said photographer and New Arts artist-in-residence Scheherazade Tillet. "At best, they remain invisible in our public discourse and monumental landscape. My large-scale photograph of eight-year-old Faa’Tina next to the reflective typography and acrylic mirrors is a powerful intervention that asks us all to see ourselves through the gaze of Black girlhood."
This work is also made up of reflective typography and acrylic mirrors that Chantal Fischzang designed to structurally connect the installation with the pedestal of the original monument and to reflect the diversity and vibrancy of the people of Newark. This sheer size of this installation -- a four story building -- and its aesthetic gravitas greatly adds to the debates about monuments, racial representation, and social justice, while also enhancing contemporary conversations about the ongoing (in)visibility of Black girls and young women in the United States.
“The facade’s mirrored structure in connection with Faa’Tina’s photograph, is a testament to the significance/monumentality of this moment, in this city,” said Chantal Fischzang.“We hope the design offers an experience of intentional representation — a reflection of one’s self and committed community.”
In the Spring of 2021, Alliyah Allen of New Arts Justice and Keary Rosen of the Form Design Studio at Express Newark will host a series of public programs that encourage local artists and everyday citizens to contribute to these contemporary conversations about memory, belonging, and our civic landscape.
Will You Be My Monument kicks off the first of a series of public works, organized and curated by Rebecca Pauline Jampol that embrace collaboration and emphasize community building through public art. Additional works by The Newark Artist Photo Documentary Project and ImVisible will take place over the next few months. FPCA projects are developed with the support of a public/private partnership that includes The City of Newark, Invest Newark, Newark Arts, Newark Downtown District, Paramount Assets and RBH Group. This phase is with the support of the Calello Agency, Edison Properties, The Hanini Group, The Newark Creative Catalyst Fund, Rosemary and Robert Steinbaum, Sherwin Williams Paint Company, Provident Bank and more.
To learn more about Four Corners Public Arts, visit fourcornerspublicarts.org
Newark Arts’ mission is to power the arts to transform lives. Established in 1981 as the Newark Arts Council, the organization’s vision is to become a nationally recognized catalyst for the collaborative power of the arts in the City of Newark and urban America. Newark Arts is the producer of Newark Creates, a community-led citywide cultural plan, created in partnership with the City of Newark. Newark Arts’ key initiatives include Arts Education Newark (AEN), the ArtStart community grantmaking program, and the Newark Arts Festival. Newark Arts is generously supported by Prudential Financial, the City of Newark, M&T Bank, PSEG, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Victoria Foundation, Turrell Fund, Bank of America, New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, Verizon, United Airlines, Hanini Group and individuals, businesses and institutions.