Passage: An Art Installation

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“Passage: Reflections of Time & Space”

A Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens’ sponsored art installation

Created by Omar Hakeem, AIA, of To Be Done Studio

September 11, 2021- October 12, 2021 at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

About the Installation

“Passage: Reflections of Time & Space,” a series of site-specific installations at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens moves visitors to reflect on the passage of time – specifically the last 18 months – and the importance of greenspace in communities as a place of respite and resource. Using mirrors and locally sourced logs, the installation juxtaposes the synthetic and natural beauty of the Gardens to offer visitors a newfound appreciation for green space. The use of mirrored glass implies a passageway into a world more focused on the outdoors and our connection with it, offering an escape for visitors. Furthermore, the installation delves into the challenges around access to spaces, privilege, and one’s own relationship to wild and cultivated green space. Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens seeks to address these issues alongside community leaders and residents. 

Using mirrors and locally sourced logs, the installation juxtaposes the synthetic and natural beauty of the Gardens to offer visitors a newfound appreciation of greenspaces. The artist and curator hope the mirrors mimic a portal into a world more focused on the outdoors, and our connection with it, offering an escape for visitors. Further, the installation delves into the challenges around access to spaces, privilege, and their own relationship to wild and cultivated green space, issues Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens have committed to address alongside Ward 7 community leaders and residents. The exhibit will also include an opportunity for visitors to engage with the art and offer reflections to the art pieces that appear throughout the park.

Hear from the Artist

“To Be Done Studio is so thrilled to be supporting the work of Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and the neighbors they serve. The Gardens are an absolute gem within the city providing a place of respite and natural inspiration for so many residents, but need support in responding to their context,” said Omar Hakeem, AIA, a D.C. artist and architect who specializes in social and environmental equality through thoughtful design and planning.

 “Parks all over the city (and nation) have a lot of work to do to transform the legacy of ‘you’re not welcome here’ into ‘all are welcomed here,'” continued Hakeem. “It’s my sincerest hope that this exhibition brings attention and support to these issues as well as allows visitors to play, wonder and dream within this beautiful place.”

Why Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens?

Situated between the Anacostia River and the Kenilworth and Eastland Gardens neighborhoods, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens was built in the 1880s by Civil War Veteran Walter Shaw. This backyard oasis has been a place of respite, peace, and recreation for many over the last 140+ years. Residents of the Gardens’ surrounding communities, however, have dealt with many systemic issues in neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River, including a struggle to achieve equity in housing, city infrastructure, and strangely, healthy spaces for recreation. “Passage: Reflections of Time & Space” examines these opposing relationships and situates visitors in the position of building solutions by asking – “What is the role of the Gardens in my community?  What role can I play?

Partners:

To Be Done Studio – Design and Installation

To Be Done harnesses the inherent goodness in people and the power of design to create sustainable solutions to the endemic problems that our world faces. We seek a relevant practice, one which is accessible to all rather than the few. We design and build spaces that uplift, inspire and support power within the communities we work in.

Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens – Coordination, Community Engagement, Financial Support

FoKAG is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that connects people to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens through stewardship, engagement and educational programs. We envision an Aquatic Gardens that inspires. 

“Passage: Reflections of Time & Space” is supported by Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens with funds from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and individual donors. 

Materials donated by Polymershapes.