High Line Art reveals « 57 Forms of Liberty », a commission by artist Ibrahim Mahama, as part of the group exhibition « The Musical Brain » that will open at the High Line in New York City in April 2021.
The work by Ghanaian artist Ibrahim Mahama will be displayed on the High Line’s North Reserve, above Tenth Avenue at Sixteenth Street, and will be on view from April 2021 to March 2022.
Originally scheduled for 2020, « 57 Forms of Liberty » was postponed due to the pandemic. « 57 Forms of Liberty » is a converted mechanical tank from a former assembly plant in Wilmington, North Carolina. The creation was prompted by a corroded chimney the artist saw in a train shop in Sekondi, Ghana, with its mouth transformed into a tree.
For Ibrahim Mahama, the workshop is a significant reference to the British use of railroad lines to separate and profit from goods until Ghana regained its freedom in 1957.
In presenting this work on the High Line, Ibrahim Mahama establishes associations across continents between these various mechanical chronicles. The sculpture on the High Line also features a tree growing from its top, a significant image for him, and reflects the light of the Statue of Liberty to the south, and the non-human agents that continue to remind us of the states of life on this planet, even among the constructions made and abandoned by humans.
Ibrahim Mahama uses large-scale installations, composed of discovered materials, to reference the development of goods and individuals on the planet.
He has wrapped entire structures in artworks woven from Jute bags sewn together by numerous volunteers, stacked wooden crates to make transcendent dividers, and replaced the banners of Nations with used food packages.
By using these racks to transport goods, Ibrahim Mahama shows that it is often easier for objects to cross borders than for people.
For Ibrahim Mahama, uniting objects from different environments allows for a better understanding of their shared history.