DPI Alum Hank Willis Thomas Creates 25-Foot-Tall Afro Pick for 5th Ave.

Friday, Apr 19, 2019

Artist Hank Willis Thomas has designed a monumental Afro pick for a temporary installation in New York City. (Courtesy Kindred Arts and The Africa Center)

All Power to All People, a 25-foot-tall statue of an Afro pick created by conceptual artist and alum of the NYU Tisch Department of Photography & Imaging Hank Willis Thomas, was erected last Friday in its temporary location in the public plaza outside The Africa Center at 1280 Fifth Avenue in New York City. It will be on view through July 7, 2019. A slew of public programs will coincide with the monumental installation. Visit here for more information.

Designed in collaboration with the Kindred Arts cultural equity initiative, the steel sculpture is intended to honor and celebrate cultural identities of the African diaspora. Thomas worked with fabricator Jeff Schomberg to imagine the larger-than-life Afro pick, which sits at an angle on a black podium and features a handle in the outline of a clenched fist. The design is an iteration of Thomas’s 2017 sculpture made with Monument Lab in Philadelphia for Thomas Paine Plaza. In connection with the Afro pick’s distinct cultural and political identity, the piece symbolizes the strength, comradery, and perseverance of the African-American community, as well as the ongoing pursuit for equal rights, justice, and belonging. 

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