How an 800 lb Afro Pick is Inspiring Change

11/03/2017 11:23 am ET

The new iconic public artwork entitled “All Power to All People” was recently unveiled in Opa-locka, FL by award-winning, internationally acclaimed artist, Hank Willis Thomas. The installation of the piece of art, in partnership with the Opa-locka Community Development Corporation (OLCDC), comes at a particularly sensitive time of social, economic, and racial unrest across the nation. America is awakening and artists like Hank are using their artistry and influence to spearhead the movement bringing people together highlighting community, strength, perseverance, comradeship and resistance to oppression. The New York native’s art installation on the campus of the emerging THRIVE Innovation District highlights the commitment of the OLCDC’s President/CEO, Dr. Willie Logan. He believes, “Art expands our capacity to perceive, understand and represent the world, which is why we’re committed to building up our community through cultural activities and public art such as this one. It is my hope that this piece will incite residents to think further about what this symbol represents to them, their community and the world.”

  <strong>Hank Willis Thomas, International Acclaimed Artist </strong>
Hank Willis Thomas, International Acclaimed Artist

At over 800 pounds, the 8-foot-tall afro pick is cast in aluminum and finished with a high gloss black coating. It boasts stainless steel teeth topped with a clenched fist often associated with strength, unity, and black power. Hank spoke to the history of black Americans emphasizing, “ [The Afro pick] is a small symbolic gesture but a potent one, as the imagery has long been connected to beauty, cultural representation, and self-love.

Although the transformative artist never desired to be one based on his interpretation of what it meant, he realized, “Art was more than what you make, it’s more about who you are and how you behave. You don’t have be called an artist to be an artist.

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