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notes n Lydie Diakhaté Melvin Edwards is a prolific sculptor. He put in place an aesthetic language that denounces oppression and discrimination and celebrates liberty, respect and fraternity. Broadly exhibited, his work also inspires a younger generation of African-American artists. Displayed in public spaces from New York to Baltimore in the United States, passing through Saint-Louis in Senegal, Santiago in Cuba, and the Utsukushi-ga-hara Highlands in Japan, Melvin Edwards’ large-scale sculptures link individuals, cities and continents. His monumental sculptures serve as markers in an urban landscape. They are beacons that trace the path taken by the artist over the course of more than five decades and illustrate the transnational journey of his black consciousness. Edwards’ public artworks are points of reference that revive our memories, give us strength, and remind us that if social change is possible, it remains an everyday commitment. n works cited Brenson, Michael. Artist in Conversation: ‘Melvin Edwards by Michael Brenson’ BOMB Magazine, November 24, 2014. Craft, Catherine. ‘This Life as a Sculptor’ and ‘Conversations with Melvin Edwards’ in Melvin Edwards: Five Decades, Nasher Sculpture Center, 2015. Diawara, Manthia and Lydie Diakhaté. ‘A Conversation With Melvin Edwards’ NKA, Spring 2012. Harney, Elizabeth. In Senghor’s Shadow: Art, Politics, and the Avant-Garde in Senegal, 1960–1995. Durham-London: Duke UP, 2004. Kellie, Jones. EyeMinded: Living and Writing Contemporary Art. Durham: Duke UP, 2011. Patton, Sharon F. African-American Art. Oxford UP, 1998. acknowledgement This article is a reprint (with minor editorial changes for American spellings and style) of the article by Lydie Diakhaté, which appeared in Wasafiri Vol. 30, Iss. 3, 19 August 2015, pp. 64 - 74. Published by Taylor & Francis, London, England. BLACK RENAISSANCE NOIRE Homage to Coco, 1970 Painted steel and chain 48” by 96” by 120” 141 k 1 The most famous Senegalese dish of fish, tomato, rice and vegetables. 2 Melvin Edwards in conversation with the author. New York, April 2014. 3 Extract from the film “Some Bright Morning: The Art of Melvin Edwards” by Lydie Diakhaté (49min., USA/ France, 2016). 4 Melvin Edwards in conversation with the author. Dakar, March 2014. 5 Diawara, Manthia and Lydie Diakhaté. ‘A Conversation with Melvin Edwards’ NKA, Spring 2012, 127. 6 See Sharon F Patton. African-American Art. Oxford UP, 1998. 224. 7 Diawara, Manthia and Lydie Diakhaté. ‘A Conversation with Melvin Edwards’ NKA, Spring 2012, 120. 8 Melvin Edwards in conversation with the author. Dakar, March 2014. 9 Melvin Edwards in conversation with the author. Dakar, March 2014. 10 Melvin Edwards in conversation with the author. Dakar, March 2014. 11 Melvin Edwards in conversation with the author. New York, April 2014. 12 For his solo exhibition, Edwards showcased site-specific sculptures made of barbed wire and chains, strung in transparent planes. Preserved only in installation photographs, these site-specific sculptures have been re-created for the first time in forty-five years for his Five Decades retrospective, presented by the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas (31 January 2015 – 10 May 2015). 13 See Kellie Jones, 415; Michael Brenson, BOMB Magazine; and Catherine Craft’s interview with the artist (41-42) and essay (20-23). 14 The work uses large naked discs of steel, representing blank pages ready to receive a poem. The concept comes from a sculpture that Edwards was to produce for Damas, for his house in Cayenne. Cayenne being situated on the most easterly part of South America, the sculpture would have faced the continent of Africa. It celebrates also the transition of life. It has been on display for the first time at the Studio Museum, in New York, in the spring of 1978. 15 Edwards chose to install his sculpture next to a quote from the charismatic pastor: “Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough and morality to cut off the chain of hate. This can only be done by projecting the ethic of love to the center of our lives.” 16 It has been exhibited at The White House in 1998. 17 Located in Thomas Jefferson Park, East Harlem, New York. 18 Vinegar Hill was a thriving African-American neighborhood, until it was destroyed for economic development in the 1960s.