WHO IS ON THE HUNDRED DOLLAR BILL IN "IT'S ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS"?

QA Image.jpg

This piece doesn’t show in too many places because it is massive. 9 feet x 4 feet to be exact.  But in the moments that it has been on public display, people are drawn to it.  The colors, the size, the symbol of money…it all drives them to inspect a bit closer.  Like clockwork they examine all the pushpins, then the details of the dollar bill and then the questions begin. It’s almost guaranteed that within the first 3 questions someone will ask, "Who is that on the bill?"

This piece is meant to play with the ideas of currency, the power of the mind and the place that black people hold in United States history. American history represented by the paper we trade is an exclusionary tactic. Benjamin Banneker fought to illustrate that the power of the black intellect is equal to that of the white man’s. With this piece I’ve done just that, I’ve swapped the importance and power of a white historical symbol with a black one.

I’ve been able to share the story of Benjamin Banneker with so many people that it has led me to focus a lot of pushpin pieces on black history and culture. I realized my art can dust off history to tell stories that remain relevant.  I can blend knowledge and politics in packaging that cuts past any predispositions to allow viewers to take a step closer.  History needs to be preserved and re-expressed for changing generations; art can do that.

image