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Colorful Canoe Sculptures Heading to Hunters Point South Park Next Month

artwork by Xaviera Simmons via SculptureCenter

April 18, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez

A temporary sculptural installation will be heading to Hunters Point South Park in May.

“Convene”, the name of the installation by artist Xaviera Simmons, features a series of colorful aluminum canoes that attempt to capture Long Island City and Astoria’s demographic history.

The canoes, according to the project’s description, will be painted to evoke national flags representative of the historical makeup of the two neighborhoods.

The installation will be set up in the mulch area in front of the children’s playground, beside the Oval. The canoes, each only about 13 inches tall, will be face down and mostly in a row leaning against one another, with some stacked on top of one another.

Mary Ceruti, Executive Director for the SculptureCenter and project curator, told Community Board 2’s Land Use committee that Simmons’ installation came from thinking about how communities are visually represented.

“[Simmons] was looking at statistical information on population in Long Island City and Astoria, and how that information gets represented and how it doesn’t always align historically without perception,” Ceruti said.

Furthermore, the canoe itself was selected for its migratory symbolism, where people and goods have historically depended on moving through water to spread.

While the canoes will reference national flags, the depictions will be purposefully abstract to showcase the complexities in personal identity and representation.

The public art project is curated by the SculptureCenter, and is the third artwork commissioned as part of their art education program for teens called “Public Process”. The teenagers in the program helped select Simmons’ piece for the park.

Simmons, a New York City native, has exhibited her works at MoMA, the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Comtemporary Art Chicago, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and more.

“Convene” will be on display from May 23 through August 19.

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