An interactive sculpture paying tribute to African American history and the ongoing struggle for racial justice will be on display at Rice University throughout the month of March.
The statue, which will be located in front of the Provisional Campus Facilities (PCF) tents on College Way, will be unveiled at an event at 4 p.m. March 3. The sculpture’s exhibition at Rice is sponsored by the Center for African and African American Studies (CAAAS), theSchool of Humanities, the School of Social Sciences and Hanszen College.
“A Blank Slate: Hope for a New America” is a monument created by Ghanaian artist Kwame Akoto-Bamfo to challenge symbols of the Confederacy that remain across the country. The artwork, which depicts depicts four Black American figures (a slave ancestor, a lynched Union soldier martyr, a struggling mother activist and a baby) stacked atop one another, represents African American experiences before, during and after the American Civil War.
The sculpture has traveled through more than a dozen cities in the U.S. , and has been installed in spaces to interrupt public art narratives and Confederate symbolism. The artwork features an interactive element where participants can share their opinions, which are displayed on a digital screen. The artist’s goal is for viewers to reflect on and respond to the monument’s presence and meaning.
“We are very excited to have the Blank Slate Monument on Rice University’s campus, the first university to host it on its tour across the U.S.,” said Jeff Fleisher, interim director of CAAAS and professor and chair of Rice’s Department of Anthropology. “Our hope is that it will spark meaningful and challenging conversations on campus, as we think about monuments and their relationship to Black history more broadly.”
Media are invited to attend the unveiling of the sculpture. To RSVP, contact Amy McCaig, senior media relations specialist, at 713-348-6777 or [email protected]. A map of campus is available here.
More information on the sculpture is available online at https://blankslatemonument.com and https://blankslatemonument.blogs.rice.edu.