Art in the Diaspora

Honoring Iconic Black Artistic Figures through the Ubuntu Community Sculpture Garden Project, Brooklyn

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The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art (MoCADA) unveiled its latest project, the Ubuntu Community Sculpture Garden, in Brooklyn’s vibrant Fort Greene neighborhood. What was once a mundane parking lot is now an urban sanctuary and a testament to iconic Brooklyn figures. The garden features diverse community members, each with a unique story and impact on Brooklyn and beyond. The project is part of an ongoing sculpture series known as Brooklyn Bronzes by Kholisile Dhliwayo.

The Ubuntu Garden, Brooklyn, NY. Image courtesy of MoCADA

The project series is a testament to the enduring legacy of black figures in the art space. These curators and artists have significantly contributed to arts, education, and advocacy. These sculptures serve as a visual and auditory celebration of their accomplishments, capturing their physical likeness and voices. Each sculpture is accompanied by a label featuring a QR code. This allows the visitors to access audio recordings of the featured subjects discussing their life’s work, joys, and unwavering resilience.

Among the celebrated figures is Lumumba Akinwole-Bandele, an organizer whose dedication to social justice has left an indelible mark. Lynn Nottage is a playwright and screenwriter known for her thought-provoking and impactful works. The garden also pays homage to urban planner Ibon Manar Muhammadi and Laurie Cumbo. Laurie is the founder of MoCADA, who has significantly contributed to Brooklyn’s cultural and political landscape.

The series, with its current count of approximately 20 portraits, is far from complete. The project curator, Amy Andrieux, provided a list of 80 individuals who have made lasting contributions to Brooklyn, whose sculptures are yet in the She used a social justice lens to ensure a cross-generational, cross-discipline, and cross-experience representation.

Brooklyn Bronzes – Kholisile Dhliwayo. Image courtesy of MoCADA.

MoCADA’s Ubuntu Garden, a testament to community revitalization, symbolizes the museum’s commitment to African diasporic art and culture. As visitors wander through the Ubuntu Community Sculpture Garden, they encounter the physical presence of these influential figures and hear their voices echoing, sharing their wisdom, experiences, and aspirations. Check out the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art (MoCADA) website for more information.


Rose Mwikali Musyoki is a creative writer from Nairobi, Kenya. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Business and Finance from the University of Embu, Kenya, and is the founder of Bloom Inc, an art startup in Kenya. Currently, she works as a writer for Art News Africa.

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