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Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights to unveil first project on Art for the People on Sept. 12

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Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights to unveil first project on Art for the People on Sept. 12

Photo is from Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights' Facebook page.

Decatur, GA — Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights is partnering with Decatur Makers and the Decatur Arts Alliance to unveil the first public art project of the Art for the People project. The first piece, “What Sonia Said,” will be unveiled on Sunday, Sept. 12, at 2 p.m. in front of Ebster Recreation Center, 416 W. Trinity Place in Decatur. Food and music will be offered an hour before at 1 p.m.

The site is significant because the sculpture will be placed on the land where the former Beacon and Trinity schools that served the segregated Black community in Decatur once stood, according to a press release from Beacon Hill.

The sculpture by Atlanta-based, Black multidisciplinary artist Ellex Swavoni is inspired by a poem by Sonia Sanchez, a leading figure in the Black Arts Movement. Swavoni’s “Future Ancient” style draws upon the visual language of spiritual traditions across the African diaspora.

She chose to do the Art for the People project because she believes “public culture is meant to be done in the service of history and to serve the community,” she said in the press release.

The piece will affirm the brilliance and ingenuity of Black and Indigenous people through an artistic narrative that speaks of where Black people have been and where they are going through an Afro-futuristic perspective, the release states.

Highlighting the leading and inspirational role of women of color in Black and Indigenous Freedom Movements, speakers at the unveiling ceremony will include Decatur City Commissioner Lesa Mayer, City Schools of Decatur School Board member Jana Johnson Davis, Art for the People organizing committee member Zana Sanders, enrolled member of the Navajo Nation and Emory student Sierra Talavera Brown, and Art for the People organizing committee member and recent Decatur High School graduate Bethani Thomas.

Student organizers from Decatur High School were involved in the project, which has raised over $30,000 through contributions from the city of Decatur, a matching grant from an anonymous donor and many individual donors.

“Art in Afrikan culture has been used throughout centuries in functional ways as opposed to being objects for pleasurable consumption,” said Fonta High, co-chair of the Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights. “This project is a vision that represents a collective community response to symbols of white supremacy where people of color tell their own story. Art for the People takes ‘What Sonia Said’ and merges tangible beauty with utility by creating a provocative platform to challenge, provoke, and inspire.”

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