The Prospect Park Alliance, a non-profit organization that partners with the city to run the borough’s second largest green space, has announced its first ever artist in residence, Adama Delphine Fawundu.
Fawundu will draw upon research conducted by the Alliance’s new ReImagine Lefferts initiative to construct a large-scale, site-specific textile installation. This creation will align with the initiative’s objectives to redirect educational focus and redefine the history and importance of the indigenous Lenapehoking people, whose unceded land the house occupies, as well as the Africans enslaved by the Lefferts family.
Fawundu, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, remarked on the personal significance of this opportunity.
“When the Alliance reached out it was so special because we were both on a specific trajectory,” she said on Feb. 8. “My whole existence is based in this neighborhood. The smell of the grass when it rains in the park means so much to me…I have such a history here. It felt very much like a 360 degree event to connect with the ReImagine team here in Prospect Park.”
This recent partnership between the Alliance and Fawundu was inspired by the artist’s past work with the park, specifically her 2020 performance art piece “In the Face of History Freedom Cape,” which was partially filmed in Lefferts Historic House and Prospect Park, as well as her “Joyful Blues” Lena Horne Bandshell installation in 2021 with BRIC.
“Prospect Park Alliance’s first ReImagine Lefferts Artist in Residence is a step towards healing deep-seated wounds from our nation’s past,” said Prospect Park Alliance President Morgan Monaco. “Art is a key medium for storytelling and this installation will help tell the stories of those who have traditionally been silenced. I look forward to park visitors engaging with and reflecting on Delphine’s installation as a form of healing, learning and community building.”
Fawundu’s exhibition will be debuting in spring 2024 and will feature 25 individual textile pieces, each paying tribute to the 25 enslaved Africans who lived at Lefferts House from 1783 through the abolition of slavery in New York in 1827 and have been identified by the Alliance so far.
“Delphine’s work builds upon research to honor the humanity of those whose stories were previously not told,” said Maria Carrasco, vice president of public programs at the Alliance. “Her vision and work fit seamlessly with the ReImagine Lefferts Initiative in centering the resistance and resilience that enslaved Africans and generations of descendants have embodied throughout history.”
Fawundu’s work is informed not only by her surroundings and personal history with Brooklyn and Prospect Park, but also by her over 10 years of experience working as an educator in New York City schools.
“Resistance is so important for the younger generation. Black people have always been resisting from generation to generation, and telling stories that make our youth feel less-than is violent,” she said. “Stories of the past clearly impact how younger people see themselves. The way we understand the past informs the present and future. This is something I have grappled with throughout my career as an artist and educator.”
To learn more about the Prospect Park Alliance and the new artist in residence, visit www.prospectpark.org