Image 1: Night time photo of Bushwick illuminated Beyond Memorial; image 2: Photo of Natasha Christopher response to installation unveiling, leader of bereaved mother’s group and community organizer working with 67th precinct; image 3: Natasha, community leader and Oni, artist next to first Beyond Memorial prototype at the corner of Cornelia St. and Evergreen Ave., Bushwick, BK; image 4: Photo of Esteban and Jamel installing Beyond Memorial prototype on lamp post at Sutter Ave. & Mother Gaston Blvd., Dr. Green Playground in Brownsville.
Immanuel Oni: Beyond Memorial
Immanuel Oni’s Beyond Memorial prototypes unconventional methods of remembrance, re-imagination and resistance in public space.
Beyond Memorial: Site Walk with Immanuel Oni
When: October 11th, 2023 from 6:00pm to 8:30pm
Where: Brownsville, Brooklyn; Rockaway Avenue 3 Train Station
Click here to RSVP for this public program!
Join us on Wednesday, October 11th for a guided walking tour of Beyond Memorial street light prototypes installed in Brownsville, Brooklyn, led by 2023 Engaging Artists Commission Artist Immanuel Oni and youth participants from participatory workshops at the Brownsville Community Justice Center (BCJC).
The walking tour will be followed by an outdoor film screening hosted by BCJC which reanimates a former movie theater, The Pitkin, that was once a community hub. The outdoor screening takes place where the Pitkin roughly stood, and is meant to prefigure a movie theater experience for the Brownsville community which otherwise has none.
We will meet for the walking tour at 6pm at the Rockaway Avenue 3 Station. At 7:30pm, we will join the outdoor screening of “Evolution of Hip Hop: New York State of Mind” (run time: 47 minutes) hosted by the BCJC with an introduction to the project by Oni, at the intersection of Pitkin Avenue and Junius Street. The screening will have seating and complimentary popcorn.
about the project.
More Art is pleased to present Immanuel Oni’s participatory public artwork Beyond Memorial, an art, design and healing justice response to the invisible—yet palpable— scars left in community spaces after gun violence and loss. The unveiling of the public artwork and the culminating public event will take place in the fall of 2023. More details to come.
Creating space for remembrance and memorializing, Beyond Memorial aims to support youth and community members in addressing ongoing tensions at NYCHA developments through a series of workshops from April through June 2023 that focus on designing prototypes for re-envisioned methods of remembrance, re-imagination and resistance in public space. Coupled with commemorating lost loved ones and marking particular street elements that carry on memorial themes the workshops explore ways to incorporate media and messaging curated by youth participants within several negatively-perceived areas and hotspots.
Common in the aftermath of shootings, impromptu candle memorials often follow such harrowing incidents. Ephemeral by nature, once these memorials have taken place, the candles themselves are often removed. Community members hold onto negative perceptions and residual trauma associated with these sites, which contribute to the sense that these public spaces are both unsafe and stigmatized. Very little is done within the sites themselves. In addition, NYCHA housings typically suffer from poor street lighting, and a lack of infrastructure, any natural elements and cultural markers, making them rather unwelcoming environments. With the surge in gun violence in our communities, residents and local leaders have become increasingly interested in responding more creatively and productively to these sites of trauma and loss.
about the artist.
Immanuel Oni is a first-generation Nigerian-American artist and spatial designer living in New York City. He believes art is not about what he is making, but who he is making it for. His work explores loss and its deep connection with space. His canvas consists of repurposing existing public space infrastructure such as light posts, fencing, underutilized green areas or mobile spaces to prompt community dialogue and connection. He has led and participated in international art and urbanism workshops in Venice, Hong Kong, and Lagos. He has received awards from the Design Trust for Public Space, Culture Push, New York for Culture and Arts, Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts, Architectural League of New York, and the New York Council of the Arts. He is a former Director of Community Design at the New York City’s Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice and Adjunct Professor at Parsons the New School for Design. He is the co-founder and Creative Director of Liminal, a non-profit that works at the intersection of art, unity, and space.
about the Engaging Artists Commission.
Beyond Memorial was selected through an open call as More Art’s 2023 Engaging Artist Commission. This year, proposals for the commission were reviewed and selected by a jury composed of Floor Grootenhuis (artist and Engaging Artists Fellowship alumnus), Kendal Henry (Artist, Curator and Assistant Commissioner, Public Art at the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs), Elizabeth Masella (Senior Public Art Coordinator at NYC Department of Parks & Recreation), Prerana Reddy (Artist & Community Fellow at Recess), and current More Art staff.
More Art’s Engaging Artists Commission is an annual opportunity for early career artists focused on the incubation and commissioning of a public art project and carries an $8000 award to realize the project, plus curatorial, conceptual, budgetary, and logistical mentorship. The Commission is part of More Art’s Engaging Artists program which provides infrastructure and laboratory for artists to gain a deeper understanding of the history and vitality of public and socially engaged art.Immanuel Oni’s Beyond Memorial marks the fourth iteration of the EA Commission. Previous commissions have included Lily & Honglei’s The Red String (2022), Sean Desiree’s Beam Ensemble (2021) and Nolan Hanson’s Trans Boxing (2020).