New Public Art at WBCA

Visit WBCA to see a newly installed public art collaboration between WBCA’s Artist-in-Residence Sieng Lee and Youth & Outreach Director Kyle Frederickson 

This collaborative artwork by Kyle Frederickson and Sieng Lee is a response to the profound shifts that have taken place in our communities and our individual lives the past few months. The two halves of the heart were completed separately, according to each artist’s individual vision, before being brought together into one completed piece.

More on the artists’ materials and approach can be found in their statements:

Artist Statement – Sieng Lee

It took eight minutes and forty-six seconds for George Floyd to be murdered. Eight minutes and forty-six seconds to live in fear. Eight minutes and forty-six seconds to cry for a dead mother’s help.

In a collaborative effort to capture the contemporary moment in which artists now live, my work in partnership with Kyle Frederickson seeks to think about who we are today. On my half of the heart, I featured the time 8:46, which has become a symbol of police brutality. I selected yellow fluorescent tape, which is commonly used to mark city streets and act as a guide for vehicles and pedestrians alike. I really wanted to emphasize the fluorescent street tape as a reminder not only of the tragedies that unfold in our city streets, but also of the energy and pain that spills onto the streets when injustice occurs. 

George Floyd’s death has uncovered realities that can no longer be unseen or ignored.

We cannot pretend that police brutality does not exist. As working artists, to un-see, ignore, or deny these events is to forget our own privilege as makers and creatives in a society where social change is happening all around us. This moment is a reflection of our shared humanity, and of how we choose to treat others. Those who choose to detract and avert conversations and questions away from what we have seen and experienced do a disservice to the world of contemporary art. We can never forget what happened.

What happened to George Floyd in eight minutes and forty-six seconds is a reflection of us, as a country and society. In eight minutes and forty-six seconds, we learned that the greatest threat, and what we most have to fear, is us.

Artist Statement – Kyle Frederickson

For my part in this collaboration, I chose to deal with what art can do before, during or after a particular event, or even over the course of a lifetime. This individual piece of artwork is an expression of how art can help us navigate every aspect of our daily lives. Art, whether we realize it or not, is present all around us.

When choosing my materials, I wanted to display a certain mix of textures and colors, but in a neutral form. The different types of wood used are symbolic of how art can contain and communicate many different values.

The wording expands on the role art plays in our lives and surroundings. The words I chose are meant to start, end or continue conversation, while still maintaining art as the central core of said conversation.

The wording and materials also reflect the textural differences in the opinions, conversations and perspectives that surround any subject.

A challenge with this artwork is that it is meant to be combined with another piece of work, of which I had no idea of the outcome. My fellow artist and I wanted to make sure that neither of us had a final idea of what the other was working on, so the two pieces of work, when placed together, could be viewed individually as well as part of a collected whole.

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