Monday, August 17, 2020

Turning Grief for a Hidden Past Into a Healing Space

By Holland Cotter
On the memorial’s outward-facing wall, the eyes of Isabella Gibbons, an enslaved woman at the University of Virginia, make a ghostly appearance in the stone, engraved by the artist Eto Otitigbe. Sanjay Suchak for The New York Times
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — In 2016, the school, through its President’s Commission on Slavery and the University, commissioned the present Memorial to Enslaved Laborers, with the Boston-based Höweler + Yoon Architecture (Eric Höweler and Meejin Yoon) designing, in collaboration with Mabel O. Wilson, a professor of architecture at Columbia University; Gregg Bleam Landscape Architect; Frank Dukes, a community facilitator and professor of architecture at the University of Virginia; and Mr. Otitigbe. If, from afar, the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers doesn’t announce its theme and purpose, even looks somewhat impersonal and unresolved, that’s all right. With its amphitheater shape, stagelike plot of grass, and soon-evident handmadeness, it feels receptive and usable, a place for things to happen, for performances. [More