Professor Devan Shimoyama‘s major new commission, “The Grove,” is featured in a New York Times article about the reopening of the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries building. The work is part of the exhibition “Futures,” which combines art installations with historic objects, science, and technology.
“The South Hall is dubbed ‘Futures that Unite’ and looks at how humans relate, communicate and collaborate across cultures, distance and space, not just with one another but also with plants, animals and machines,” Laura van Staaten writes for the Times.
“That is where ‘The Grove’ by Mr. Shimoyama sits, billed as an imagined future monument to the collective trauma and tumult of the pandemic, racial violence and the political and civic unrest surrounding the 2020 elections.
“Mr. Shimoyama, a Black Trinidadian-Japanese artist from Philadelphia, presents bedazzled utility poles with the kinds of artificial flowers, dangling sneakers and other materials often seen in impromptu urban or roadside memorials — particularly those for victims of violence, whose stories have been a common theme in his work.
“’I had difficulty imagining moving forward without acknowledging problems of today,’ he said in an email. ‘The Grove’ is meant to be a refuge for reflection but at the same time, as he wrote, the work can be seen ‘as a memorial left behind on an uninhabitable Earth, as humans go off into unexplored territory in hopes for a better future.'”