It took a small crew three hours Wednesday to install a 28-foot, 24,000-pound Afro pick sculpture in an empty lot on 52nd Street in West Philly — more than double the size of the Afro pick sculpture displayed in front of the Municipal Services Building in 2017.
The West Philly sculpture, complete with a clenched Black Power fist, was also designed by multimedia artist Hank Willis Thomas and bears the same name as its predecessor, “All Power to All People.”
The Afro pick, which is part of a larger, national touring art program called Monumental, was organized by Kindred Arts, an arts nonprofit based in New York City, and Little Giant Creative, a Philly-based full-service creative agency. The statue at 53 N. 52nd St. is one of three artworks in Monumental, and the collection will remain in Philly until November and then move to the West Coast.
The large Afro pick will be displayed in other locations in Philly, and the two additional pieces from the collection will be introduced throughout the month. Details are under wraps to preserve the element of surprise, but North Philly is next, according to Marsha Reid, Kindred Arts executive director. The two other large-scale pieces in the Monumental collection are works from acclaimed artists Kehinde Wiley and Arthur Jafa.
“Philadelphia has so many pockets of beautiful community and so much great space," Reid said in an interview Wednesday. “I was driving down 52nd Street and said, ‘Here’s where I’m going to put this piece of art for us and by us.' We want to, in general, support Black spaces."
“In light of ongoing, anti-Black police brutality and a pandemic that disproportionately affects Black individuals,” a banner describing the intention of the statue read, “All Power to All People is an urgent public art intervention serving as a symbol of unity, pride, strength, perseverance, justice, and belonging.”
Kindred Arts and Spirits Up will host an opening ceremony on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. for “All Power to All People.” At the opening, there will be a guided meditation session and yoga.
Staff photographer Tim Tai contributed to this article.