Will You Be My Monument
Will You Be My Monument is a collaboration between writer Salamishah Tillet of New Arts Justice at Rutgers University – Newark, designer Chantal Fischzang, and photographer Scheherazade Tillet. This public art installation 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 that Chantal Fischzang 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.