Sculpture continues conversation on confederate monuments, tours nation

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WASHINGTON (WDVM) — A Black history monument was unveiled in the District of Columbia’s Anacostia on Tuesday, June 29, as part of a national tour.

The sculpture has made stops in major cities across the United States, such as Detroit, Chicago and New York City. It was designed and created by Kwame Okoto-Bamfo, who is from Ghana. Okoto-Bamfo’s art historically showcases African culture and responds to civil rights issues.

“The Blank Slate Monument,” which has been touring the United States, is a response to the controversy surrounding Confederate monuments.

The statue itself has an enslaved African on all fours at the base of the sculpture, supporting the other three parts of the piece. The next piece is a Black Union soldier holding up a flag, with a noose around his neck. The soldier is carrying a female protester who is holding a baby on her back, a lantern in one hand and a sign in the other hand.

The sign in the protester’s hand is interactive, which brings the community into the conversation. People can connect to the Blank Slate’s Wi-Fi and put their own message on the sign. These messages help further the conversation that the statue brings to the community.

Morris Sinclair, the brand manager for Okoto-Bamfo’s studio, said, “Many people have had an emotional response to the monument. Physically, they’re like, ‘Wow, this is beautiful.’ Most people really sit there and look at it for a few minutes before they have anything to say, and when they get the explanation of it, they really understand what it is about and it really touches and enriches them.”

Okoto-Bamfo and his team are working on plans to have the monument permanently places somewhere in the United States, but for now the tour is headed to Atlanta.

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