LAND studio Unveils Protest on Public Square
When Public Square reopened last summer just in time for the Republican National Convention, it quickly became a place for democratic free speech, political debate, and conversation. In that same spirit, LAND studio introduced the latest iteration of its signature Landform public art series, Protest, a new installation created by Nigerian-born, Brooklyn-based artist Olalekan “LEk” Jeyifous. Landform is a series of projects located in Downtown Cleveland of varying scale developed by a diverse group of local, regional, and international artists, and made possible through a generous grant from the Char and Chuck Fowler Family Foundation.
The installation consists of four steel silhouettes of people peacefully protesting or making a stand. Each sculpture weighs nearly one ton and stands 10 feet in height. There are platforms at the base of each sculpture, creating new spots to gather on Public Square. Protest will be in place for about eight months, after which the individual pieces will be moved to other locations yet to be determined.
“In today’s highly charged national political climate, we are seeing how public spaces are a platform for the exchange of ideas and expression,” says LAND studio executive director Greg Peckham. “Public art has the ability to engage people in a way that is truly unique. This new project, Protest, is a thought-provoking reflection on that and will attract attention and conversation.”
“I was inspired by the history of protest, peace rallies, and civic gatherings that have taken place in Public Square and wanted to acknowledge this tradition through these large-scale characters engaged in various forms of that practice,” shares Jeyifous. “There is an element of passion and peaceful dissent in the man and woman holding megaphones, a calmer form of public engagement in the person holding up flyers or newspapers, and a moment of reconciliation between protesters of differing views or camaraderie between the two individuals sharing a hug.”
As part of the Landform series, new temporary works of public art will be created for Public Square, Mall B, and other publicly accessible locations through 2018. For more information, please visit land-studio.org/project/landform.
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