Leilah Babirye features in 'Art on the Grid' 50 artists’ reflections on the pandemic at 500+ locations across New York
‘Art on the Grid’ is a multi-platform exhibition featuring 50 artists’ reflections on the pandemic at 500+ locations across New York. Public Art Fund invited 50 emerging New York-based artists to reflect on the current situation as a way to help communities process the challenges that they face together. The exhibition gives a highly visible public platform to artists whose regular creative outlets have been stifled, commissioning them to make new, responsive works of art. ‘Art on the Grid’ enables the people of New York to reflect, to engage with the city in new ways, and to begin conversations with neighbours, friends, and strangers alike.
The exhibition roster features 50 artists from 18 countries. The artists were prompted to respond to the broad themes of reconnection and renewal, interpreted through their different perspectives and personal narratives. The resulting works draw on their experiences of New York City, its people, and places. They include reflections on moments of spontaneity, intimacy, isolation, loss, healing, and rebuilding, as well as aspirations to create a more just, inclusive, and equitable future.
Ugandan artist Leilah Babirye’s contribution to 'Art on the Grid' was unveiled as the sculpture 'Namaganda owe Mbogo (Among the Beautiful Girls from the Buffalo Clan)', 2020. Discussing the work, Babirye said, "I am an artist-activist living in New York City where I was recently granted asylum after fleeing persecution in my native Uganda. This new series of masks talks back to homophobia. Combining figurative and abstract elements, and employing a wide range of found objects, the masks portray queer archetypes that I’ve named after contemporary princes, princesses, and clans within the kingdom of Buganda’s royal family. Here, knotted plastic bags are woven through discarded tubing, and shredded to resemble hair."
‘Art on the Grid’ is curated by Public Art Fund Director & Chief Curator Nicholas Baume, Public Art Fund Curator Daniel S. Palmer, and Public Art Fund Assistant Curator Katerina Stathopoulou. The exhibition runs 29 July - 20 September 2020.