c. David Andrako

Public Art: Inspired By “What Is Left,” Brooklyn Hi-Art! Machine

On view through June 22, 2021

BRIC and Prospect Park Alliance, in partnership with NYC Parks, present Inspired By “What Is Left,” a public art installation by the collaborative duo Brooklyn Hi-Art! Machine (artists Oasa DuVerney and Mildred Beltre). The text-based installation quotes the late poet Lucille Clifton and offers the Brooklyn community a message of resilience and perseverance. It is the first major public art project in Prospect Park since the pandemic, and one of the first installations at the Bandshell in its history. 

Inspired By “What Is Left” is an extension of Brooklyn Hi-Art! Machine’s ongoing project in Crown Heights, which re-imagines unoccupied public spaces with new, alternative purposes. Their monumentally scaled, text-based fence weaving, inspired by the neon colors of protest posters, publicly addresses the current moment by often unheard voices in Black Radical Thought, and takes a barrier meant to separate an immigrant community and envision it as a space for community knowledge and uplift. The artwork aims to remind viewers of the struggles that have been faced and the work yet to be done for racial equity.

It references lines from a poem by Lucille Clifton (1936-2010), a prolific poet and two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Clifton wrote about the Black experience and endurance in the face of adversity, using substantive yet pared down lines.

“won’t you celebrate with me” by Lucille Clifton  

won’t you celebrate with me

what i have shaped into

a kind of life? i had no model.

born in babylon

both nonwhite and woman

what did i see to be except myself?

i made it up

here on this bridge between

starshine and clay,

my one hand holding tight

my other hand; come celebrate

with me that everyday

something has tried to kill me

and has failed.

Source: Book of Light (Copper Canyon Press, 1993)

Learn more about the project and the artists on the BRIC website.