As people across the United States have moved to support groups seeking to end systemic racism in the wake of George Floyd’s killing and the ensuing protests it sparked, one artist will use her platform as one of contemporary art’s most venerated figures to raise funds for a racial justice organization.
Beginning June 30, Simone Leigh will offer a new bronze sculpture titled Sentinel IV—in an edition of 25, for $25,000 each—to raise funds for Color of Change, a nonprofit with which she has been involved since 2015. The works will be purchasable through the website of Leigh’s gallery, Hauser & Wirth, and all proceeds from sales will go to the group.
“As the largest online racial justice organization in the country, they are designed for this moment in history to help us win,” Leigh said in a statement. “What I really love about their work is that they create campaigns powerful enough to end harmful television shows like Live PD and Cops as well as doing the important work on voting. Our Count is a voter mobilization movement led by Color Of Change that is focused on building Black political power, amplifying Black voices and making sure every Black vote counts.”
The editioned Sentinel IV, which measures 20 inches in height, is drawn from a larger-scale version of one of Leigh’s sculptures of the same name. The work hows an elongated figure that is recognizably female, and in place of the figure’s head is a spoon that draws inspiration from forms used in fertility objects and the sculptural traditions of Western and Southern Africa. A press release adds, “Rather than seeking to represent a singular person or figure, Leigh depicts many things simultaneously: a state of mind, an interior or external experience, an invisible history.”
Leigh won the 2018 Hugo Boss Prize, which is administered by the Guggenheim Museum in New York and comes with a solo show at the institution, and she was the first artist commissioned to make a monumental sculpture for the High Line’s “Plinth” series, which was unveiled last year. Her work was also included in the lauded 2019 Whitney Biennial, curated by Rujeko Hockley and Jane Panetta.
Rashad Robinson, Color Of Change’s president, said in a statement, “Major social change has never happened without the voices and contributions of artists and cultural leaders. Simone’s work makes visible and palpable the subjectivity of Black women, whose experiences and leadership have always been central to struggles for liberation nationally and globally. We are honored that the sale of these incredible new art works will not only support our continued work, but will live as an example of the central role of artists in advancing justice and demanding a safer world for Black people.”