Changing Time: Kehinde Wiley's 'Rumors of War'

Changing Time: Kehinde Wiley's 'Rumors of War'

Last week I was thinking about how I would design an image to show our journey to a future where Black people are winning. I was playing around in my head with different ideas, not quite sure  and then Kehinde Wiley’s unveiled his new monument. I have to say that this new work brings me so much joy.

This past Friday, Wiley unveiled what I believe might be America’s first Afrofuturist monument, titled Rumors of War.  It was unveiled in Times Square and it is absolutely amazing. I haven’t heard Kehinde describe it himself as Afrofuturist, but it definitely falls in that realm as it reimagines the past while proclaiming a new future. 

Rachel Papo for The New York Times

Rachel Papo for The New York Times

Afrofuturist art in the public sphere isn’t new (especially after the success of Black Panther) but something about the importance of a monument resonates differently. Monuments traditionally stand as records of history that cast light on a civilization, so to have one that rewrites history while creating a potential future is revolutionary. 

Wiley is casting a light, both on what could’ve been and what could be our existence in this country. It’s a monument that imagines a new role of honor and power for us. It’s the physical representation of the notion that Black people do exist in the future. 

Rumors of War is a signal of the changing times, as Kehinde noted in his unveiling speech, and right now I feel excited and proud of those changes. I feel empowered in the work we're doing now and hopeful for the future this inspires and informs. Thank you to Kehinde Wiley and all the visionaries who see the possibility of tomorrow!


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