“Black girls are our most significant cultural producers, community connectors, and powerful organizers, but their contributions are rarely recognized or appreciated. At best, they remain invisible in our public discourse and monumental landscape. My large-scale photograph of eight-year-old Faa’Tina next to the reflective typography and acrylic mirrors is a powerful intervention that asks us all to see ourselves through the gaze of Black girlhood.”
— SCHEHERAZADE TILLET, Photographer & New Arts artist-in-residence
The formation of acrylic mirrors were designed to structurally connect the installation with the pedestal, installed flushed to the top of the building, bearing the infinity of space on its platform.
The eye-view mirrored surfaces highlight the building’s architecture which along the reflective typography, intend to connect with the diversity and vibrancy of the people of Newark.
Along with her role as Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at Rutgers University-Newark, Chantal is a founding member of IntraCollaborative, a team of designers and educators sharing a deep-seated interest in design and its relevance to the social sector.
Chantal integrates publicly engaged practice and design education through her work at Express Newark, as Co-Director of Visual Means and Design Consortium, two academic programs that model a design-studio working experience in which faculty, students, researchers and community partners engage in a collaborative design process to create impact in the city of Newark.
Through my academic research at Rutgers University-Newark, I’ve experienced a clear intersection and productive exchange between my career focus, my role in the classroom and my responsibility to the community — through collaboration, co-building, social engagement and service learning — so I continued to investigate ways in which social contexts can be applied to the fundamentals of graphic design: image, word, message-making and the technological conditions of the medium.
One of the most important aspects of my professional development has been the collaborative process. The strategy, decision making and design process behind highly charged social issues, are more purposely founded and more democratic when it is informed by a collaborative and/or participatory process with partners, clients, audiences.
A collaboration with writer Salamishah Tillet of New Arts Justice at Rutgers University - Newark, and photographer Scheherazade Tillet. This public art installation, curated by Rebecca Jampol, was inspired by the City of Newark’s removal of the Columbus statue in Washington Park on June 25, 2020. Featuring a photograph by Scheherazade Tillet of Faa’Tina, an eight-year-old Black girl who celebrated her eighth birthday in Washington Park that night, this work is also made up of reflective typography and acrylic mirrors designed to structurally connect the installation with the pedestal of the original monument and to reflect the diversity and vibrancy of the people of Newark.
The sheer size of this installation — a four story building — and its aesthetic gravitas greatly adds to the debates about monuments, racial representation, and social justice, while also enhancing contemporary conversations about the ongoing (in)visibility of Black girls and young women in the United States.
In the Spring of 2021, Alliyah Allen of New Arts Justice and Keary Rosen of the Form Design Studio at Express Newark will host a series of public programs that encourage local artists and everyday citizens to contribute to these contemporary conversations about memory, belonging, and our civic landscape.
Curation & Project Management, Rebecca Jampol
Installation Direction, Randy Haze
Material Consultant, Keary Rosen
Lettering Production, Joseph Labib