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Artist installs monument to black culture in Ft. Greene Park

Artist in residence: Tanda Francis’s new sculpture, “Adorn Me,” debuted in Fort Greene Park on Aug. 25.
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They’re three new reasons to visit Fort Greene Park!

A Brooklyn artist on Saturday unveiled her massive three-faced sculpture in the neighborhood’s eponymous green space, the perfect location for the artwork she described as a tribute to the area’s black culture, she said.

“It’s in its home right now, it feels like it belongs,” said Tanda Francis, who used to live in nearby Clinton Hill before relocating to Park Slope.

Francis — who in 2016 wowed locals with an outsized effigy of fellow Brooklynite and late hip-hop legend Biggie Smalls — created her new work, “Adorn Me,” to celebrate Fort Greene’s once vibrant black community, which she said is shrinking due to gentrification and other changes in the enclave.

And the more than 14-foot statue, whose three visages feature elements of traditional African art and Victorian- and colonial-era dress, is already enchanting locals who walk by it near the park’s entrance at Myrtle Avenue and Washington Park, according to Francis.

“I got to personally speak to everybody about how they felt about the piece as much as I could,” she said. “It’s definitely gratifying to actually have it out and finished.”

The sculpture will sit in the meadow for 11 months, during which the artist hopes to invite more residents to talks and other events that examine the piece and its deeper meaning.

“Something that is an open discussion, to further strengthen the message of the piece,” she said.

Department of Parks and Recreation leaders tapped Francis and nine other artists to create pieces for green spaces throughout the five boroughs, each of whom received $10,000 from clothing retailer Uniqlo to complete their works.

The artist is still searching for a permanent home for her piece following its time in Fort Greene Park, she said.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Posted 12:00 am, August 30, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Jim from Cobble Hill says:
Some poor idiot is gonna walk into the park trippin' balls and see that shiit and freak the hell out.
Aug. 30, 7:42 am
Willy from Ft Greene projects says:
This Sh-t doesn’t belong in a green space park , it’s not natural , it’s man made or women made , let her peddle her crap in some other places , like Newark that I’m sure folks would rather look at this sh-t then the garbage strewn beer bottle parks . And last thing Ft Green used to be black and I used to be able to watch and catcall girls now it’s all Rich Democrats and ignorant fancy dressed ladies .
Aug. 30, 8:45 am
Sable from Clinton Hill says:
It is wonderful that different artists are tapped to display their perspectives. Art and beauty are in the eyes of the beholder. The pieces are not going to please everyone, but as the artist conveyed the conversations were welcomed. I personally like the piece.
Aug. 30, 11:11 am
bbd from yomomma says:
So many "new yorkers" are afraid of black people. They sound like a bunch of pusssssies to me.
Aug. 30, 7:26 pm
Gargole from Newkirk Plaza says:
Great personality! Throbs with Life! Not unlike Wyatt's " Peace Fountain" at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine or Anna Hyatt Huntington's "Jose Marti" in Central Park (though it throbs with dying).
Aug. 30, 11:23 pm
Somebody from Somewhere says:
You're just gonna have to accept the fact that ft greene, along with oyher parts of bk, has a rich black history. I know some of you may not like it but you have to acknowledge it. Hell, some of the very same million-dollar brownstones you may be living in were built by many of them so dont ever forget that.
Aug. 31, 3:47 pm
Somebody from Somewhere says:
Other*
Aug. 31, 3:47 pm
Historian from Fort Greene says:
Nice.
Aug. 31, 3:54 pm
gerry v. from UES - Manhatttan says:
re: shrinking black community - well, the Fort used to be mainly white at one time. "what goes around, comes around. Nice sculpture.
Sept. 2, 7:39 pm
Tenderglowing from Bed Stuy says:
The fort was never just whites.....I live in this community for over 60 years, and there were an equal amount of both depending on what street you walk on ...Myrtle were for the blacks ...and Dekalb were the whites
Sept. 4, 11 am
Jackson from Ft Green says:
The rich democrats took over Ft Green and pushed out the poor black folks , now it’s all moneyed and big black BMW and Range Rovers and the poor black man is now out priced. No one cares for the black folks , the other day when I complained I was told by my assembly man that I could move to Paterson or Binghampton , thank you man for this advise but I ain’t movin I’m staying in the projects and Savin it for my kids and grand kids.
Sept. 4, 8:44 pm
gerry v. from UES says:
reply to Tenderglowing: I was thinking more of the time period of when the brownstones were built ( way more than 60 years ago). Without doing research, would you say that Afro-Americans began moving in during the "Great Migration" from the south ? I do not know about the percentage of black West Indians - never really came across any in my many days/evenings of visiting friends who lived near the park.
Sept. 5, 12:33 pm
LC from Fort Greene park says:
I welcome the statue, it's BEAUTIFUL and amazing art to look at. I love ❤❤❤❤ it!!!
Sept. 6, 8:40 am
B. CROSLAND from Fort Greene says:
Beautiful sculpture. Congratulations to the artist.
Sept. 6, 9:22 pm

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