Abstract

Abstract:

The Freedom Wall (2017) is a mural in Buffalo, New York, commissioned by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Planned for the northern entrance of the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor, it was proposed that the mural should consist of a series of large-scale portraits of local and national African American civil rights leaders. The combination of its commemorative characteristics and dialogic positioning within this protected landscape framed the project as a potential site of memory for the African American community. However, the initial proposal was met with frustrated public opposition. Led by a renowned art gallery that remained distanced from Buffalo's African American community, the project created an arena for conversations that challenged the role of authorized narratives and cultural organizations in identifying and shaping heritage. Following expansions of its authorship and content, the Freedom Wall provided a valuable demonstration of what Laurajane Smith describes as "heritage as cultural process." Amending the historic landscape of the Corridor, the mural became a place that connects the past with the present, encouraging the passing on of community knowledge.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1934-6026
Print ISSN
1549-9715
Pages
pp. 16-29
Launched on MUSE
2019-05-22
Open Access
No
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