SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF / BCN) – City officials have chosen the sculpture by former KPIX presenter Dana King for the ‘Monumental Reckoning’ art installation at Golden Gate Park in honor of the early Africans of ‘America in time for June 19.
The installation pays homage to the first Africans stolen from their homeland and sold into slavery.
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King’s work consists of 350 sculptures representing the number of Africans initially forced aboard the slave ship San Juan Bautista for a journey of death and suffering across the Atlantic. A handful of those 350 original ancestors became America’s first slaves, according to the announcement released Friday by the City of London’s Breed Mayor’s office.
Sculptural figures will surround the empty pedestal in the park’s music hall where a statue of Francis Scott Key – who owned slaves and wrote disparagingly about black people – stood before being toppled by protesters last June.
The installation was approved last week by the San Francisco Arts Commission and the San Francisco Parks and Recreation Commission Operations Committee. It is currently under review by the Planning Commission and will also need to be approved by the City’s Historic Preservation Committee before it can be installed.
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The proposal is that the art remains for a two-year stay until June 20, 2023.
“We hardly ever see images of blacks depicted in our public monuments or in the American narrative of history,” said Ralph Remington, director of cultural affairs for San Francisco.
“So it’s no surprise that in a society rooted in white supremacy, people of color remain invisible and undervalued in our mythology, our symbols, our architecture and our national narrative. As the city examines historic works in our civic art collection and the future of San Francisco landmarks, this installation will help build and advance a discourse about who and what we revere in our open spaces.
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Fundraising, community outreach and continued support for the installation are provided by the African Diaspora Museum.