Hank Willis Thomas unveils iconic public artwork in Opa-Locka

Internationally celebrated artist, Hank Willis Thomas to discuss controversial 8-foot afro pick sculpture
Hank Willis Thomas
Hank Willis Thomas

OPA-LOCKA  – On Tuesday, October 17, 2017 from 6-8 PM, award winning artist, Hank Willis Thomas, will unveil his “All Power to All People” public art sculpture in partnership with the Opa-locka Community Development Corporation (OLCDC) on the campus of the emerging THRIVE Innovation District.

At over 800 pounds, the 8-foot-tall afro pick is cast in aluminum and finished with a high gloss black coating. It boasts stainless steel teeth topped with a clenched fist often associated with strength, unity, and black power.

The installation of the work, which uses imagery associated with counterculture and civil rights, comes at a time of social, economic, and racial divide across the nation.

While Thomas hopes the piece will speak for itself, it highlights ideas of community, strength, perseverance, comradeship and resistance to oppression.

According to Thomas, “The city of Opa-locka has a rich history, and I am very glad to be a part of it. The small monument speaks to the history of black Americans. It is a symbolic gesture but a potent one, as the imagery has long been connected to beauty, cultural representation, and self-love.”

Located at Town Center Apartments, an affordable housing development for the elderly built in 2014, as a collaboration between OLCDC and Related Urban Development Group, “All Power to All People” is the latest work of art to be displayed in Opa-locka. It joins another public artwork, Opa-Tisha Locka-Wocka,” by South Florida artist Gary Moore designed for Town Center.

While the OLCDC has a rich and long history in affordable housing and community building, it is also working to redevelop the neighborhood through creative placemaking and the arts.

Over the past five years, it has partnered with nationally renowned artists such as Renee Cox, Walter Hood, Ebony G. Patterson, Dread Scott and Nari Ward to bring cultural education, arts interventions, and exhibitions to local residents.

In 2014, OLCDC even purchased and renovated an old warehouse to become The ARC, Opa-locka’s first cultural community facility to help revitalize downtown Opa-locka.

“Art expands our capacity to perceive, understand and represent the world, which is why we’re committed to building up our community through cultural activities and public art such as this one. It is my hope that this piece will incite residents to think further about what this symbol represents to them, their community and the world,” says Dr. Willie Logan, OLCDC President/CEO.

The day’s events will include:

2:00 pm ~ Artist Talk with Hank Willis Thomas, Historic Train Station, 490 Ali Baba Avenue, Opa-locka, Fl

3:30 pm ~ Media Interviews with Hank Willis Thomas, 675 Ali Baba Avenue, Opa-locka, Fl

6:00 pm ~ Unveiling Reception, Town Center Apartments, 420 Aladdin Street, Opa-locka, Fl.

For more information about the OLCDC or to RSVP for the October 17th events, please visit www.olcdc.org and www.hwtunveil.eventbrite.com, respectively.

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