43 : Somos Ayotzinapa (We are all Ayotzinapa), 2016
Dye-thermal print on aluminum, polished steel, wood, stones
May 3, 2016 – May 31, 2016
“43: Somos Ayotzinapa (We are all Ayotzinapa) / Marcus Garvey Park. Harlem” is an interactive memorial consisting of a double-sided polished steel mirror and photograph on metal floating above a contemplative bench.
As visitors approach they notice a mirror reflecting sky. On one side is a photograph of hands with stones making the numbers 43 in the palms, tilted down towards us. A bench underneath offers the possibility to sit, lie down and look up, or step through. Above the seat across the chassis a trough containing stones offers a possibility to participate in the ritual suggested by the photograph.
The work appears to “float” 7-10 ft. in the park’s horizon, the mirror angled to capture the “cosmic light” of changing sun and sky. From afar it is a shard that glistens in the park pulling in the visitor, while from the ground the sculpture appears bigger than human scale, as if a giant were holding up a mirror to the sky. Like the event it memorializes, the work is at once intimate and monumental depending on the relationship the viewer has with it. Wind or viewer can also cause the work to rotate in a circle, pulling in other elements from the surrounding environment (people, trees, buildings…) reminding us that the event it references impacts all of us.
43: Somos Ayotzinapa (We Are All Ayotzinapa) is part of an ongoing multi-platform “art campaign” launched at the 2015 Venice Biennale focusing on the missing 43 Mexican students kidnapped in Ayotzinapa, a village in the state of Guerrero, Mexico. Implicating local police and politicians, the case of the “43” highlights over 160,000 deaths in Mexico’s “Drug Wars” since 2007, and has been taken up by millions of Mexicans screaming: “Ya me cansé” (I’ve had enough). Media coverage, extensive elsewhere, is minimal here.
The artist encourages visitors to contribute to the work by photographing themselves making the number 43 with the stones, or with their hands and bodies, send to firstname.lastname@example.org and post them with hash-tag #43ivehadenough to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
For more information go to http://www.theworksnyc.net/43.html.
BIO Edward Hillel is a photographer whose work comprises video, prints, drawings, objects and installations. He studied political science and philosophy and spent several years working as a community organizer before establishing his art practice. Born in Baghdad, Iraq, he lived in Montreal and Paris, and moved to Harlem in 2003 where he is currently the founder and director of the Harlem Biennale. He has received the German Critics Visual Arts Prize (Berlin), The Golden Sheaf Film Award (Canada), the Prix Alain de Rothschild (France), the Spiro Institute Award (UK), and his work is exhibited and published internationally.