Wrought, Knit, Labors, Legacies
Temporary Public Art Installation by Olalekan Jeyifous
March to November 2020
Waterfront Park, 1 King Street
From March until November 2020, experience the latest temporary public art installation at Alexandria’s Waterfront Park, Wrought, Knit, Labors, Legacies by Olalekan Jeyifous. The second of the City of Alexandria's Site See: New Views in Old Town annual public art series, Jeyifous’ concept frames Alexandria’s African American history through the lens of the city’s industrial and merchant history from the 17th to 20th centuries. Once a prosperous port city and manufacturing hub home to one of the largest domestic slave trading firms in the country, Alexandria’s early economy was inextricably tied to the work of enslaved and free African Americans.
See how Wrought, Knit, Labors, Legacies stitches Alexandria’s story together, featuring symbols that represent Alexandria’s merchant and manufacturing history, including factories, tobacco warehouses and railways. The ground mural incorporates African American quilting and textile traditions, which are historically tied to storytelling and oral tradition. When viewed as a whole, the pattern becomes an abstract grid or map, with the manufacturing icons appearing throughout. From this vibrant surface rise four ornate metal figures facing the water, wrapped in illuminated sculptural seating.