Harlem artist, Suprina Kenney, worked for years creating props and on-site installations for retailers such as Macy’s, Bloomingdales, DKNY, Apple, and Hugo Boss. Having channeled that technical and creative acumen into her own art in more recent years, the artist now proposes an outdoor installation for Marcus Garvey Park, sculpted entirely of trash and discarded objects.
Kenney’s DNA Totem, as it is called, will stand 9′ tall and represents a DNA molecule strand, made of steel and embedded with detritus. “I discovered that found objects, trash to most people, held a fascination and eccentricity for me that I could easily align with my art,” states the artist. “That’s exactly what I’m trying to do with this sculpture, inspire discussion about the relationship between humans and waste.”
The Puffin Foundation has awarded the artist $1,500 that has gone towards purchasing materials for the sculpture’s steel framework and base. While she has already begun the work, it is important to note that she is seeking additional funding, via Indiegogo, to help offset other costs associated with fabricating, transporting and installing the sculpture. The DNA Totem has been approved by the New York City Parks Department and the President of the Marcus Garvey Park Alliance, Connie Lee.
In the artist’s campaign video, Lee makes an appearance and shows us the first level acropolis where the DNA Totem will be installed. She describes the sculpture as “perfect for the park because it speaks to taking care of the park, taking care of the planet, and also speaks to the community that uses the park.” Lee even reaches out for additional funding that she hopes might support workshops in the park for the community and families, where Kenney will be able to teach about making these types of projects and reusing everyday materials for art-making.
“Did you know that each one of us leaves behind over 102 tons of trash in our lifetimes?” Kenney asks. “Could it be in our DNA to be so destructive to our only home?” The artist feels this is an appropriate conversation for the families and community members that will be viewing this outdoor public sculpture. In addition to beautifying the park, she hopes the sculpture will inspire questions and answers to this growing planetary concern.
The Indiegogo campaign has raised nearly $1,600 toward a goal of $4,000. Visit www.indiegogo.com/projects/dna-totem#/story to learn more and support this project.
Photos: Artist Suprina Kenney describes DNA Totem project with life-sized illustration in the background; Detail of the sculpture’s steel frame embedded with discarded objects. Above Left: MGPA President, Connie Lee with Artist, Suprina Kenney at Marcus Garvey Park