Alexandria's Public Art

**Update** Some of these photographs from this project were later featured in Architectural Digest and Forbes Magazine in  May and June 2020.

"We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth."
       - John F. Kennedy

Public Art, is it really public if nobody sees it?

About two weeks before the state of Virginia, and most of the country, locked down with 'shelter in place' mandates, the City of Alexandria, VA was about to unveil its new public art display.

Public art is permanent or temporary works of art that have been planned in collaboration with the Alexandria community and executed by artists with the specific intention of being accessible to all. The Alexandria Commission for the Arts chose Brooklyn, NY-based artist, Olalekan Jeyifous to design and install the next public art display in Alexandria's waterfront park.

Artist Olalekan Jeyifous Featured With His Public Art On The Waterfront 

Detailed View
"Wrought, Knit, Labors, Legacies seeks to stitch Alexandria’s story together, featuring symbols that represent Alexandria’s merchant and manufacturing history, including factories, tobacco warehouses, breweries and railways. The ground mural will incorporate African American quilting and textile traditions, which are historically tied to storytelling and oral tradition. When viewed as a whole, the pattern will become an abstract grid or map with the manufacturing icons appearing throughout. From this colorful and rich surface, four large figures will arise and face the water. Ornate metal profiles will be wrapped in sculptural seating platforms that are illuminated in low light."

I was honored to be invited on two separate occasions to photograph the new space, once with the artist and once without.
Laura Hatcher & Olalekan Jeyifous
Unfortunately, the late March unveiling party was cancelled and the debut of this powerful art went almost unannounced.

For that reason I feel obligated to showcase this masterpiece through my blog post and give you a virtual glimpse of what you will find if you happen to sneak out to the end of King Street in Old Town, Alexandria.

(By the way I'm not advocating the sneaking out part, just know that the art display is there waiting for you until winter 2020.)

I consider art in the public realm to be a humble and noble endeavor, it provides an opportunity to bring art to non-traditional places. We can explore our histories, acknowledge mythologies of resilience and resistance, and even ponder the futures of cities and public spaces. My hope is that the artwork resonates in ways that inspire and elicit engagement and dialogue. 
– Olalekan Jeyifous

Views of the Alexandria Public Art Currently On Display Until Winter 2020

Want to see more photographs of this amazing public space check out the gallery on my website.

Laura Hatcher is a retired Naval Officer, Mother, Harley Rider and Published Professional Photographer located in Northern Virginia.  Her Studio is on 218 North Lee Street, Alexandria, VA 22314.

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