Lining the promenade of MetroTech Commons in downtown Brooklyn is a series of comic strip inspired “truth balloons.” One reads, “The truth is I love you,” and another, “The truth is I am you.” The signs represent universal statements made in 22 of the many languages spoken in Brooklyn. The statements were taken from a poem written by the artist Hank Willis Thomas who worked in collaboration with artist Ryan Alexiev to adapt the words into sculptures.
The project, Hank Willis Thomas: The Truth Is I See You, was curated by Andria Hickey with the Public Art Fund. She says, “Willis has been working on his truth project for about a decade, he worked on the Truth Booth with the Cause Collective, and I thought it would be interesting to see him push that body of work in this space because it deals so much with the idea of subjectivity.”
One of the conceptual goals of this project is to have residents from around Brooklyn come and try to speak a language that is not their own. “MetroTech is in downtown Brooklyn, but it is also very much a place that is a crossroads and a hub,” Hickey tells The Creators Project. “This idea of diversity in Brooklyn is to be celebrated, its one of the most diverse communities in the country. There are more languages spoken in Brooklyn than there is anywhere else across America. We want the show to start a conversation. ”
To launch the public art intallation, Public Art Fund held an Instagram meetup using the hashtags #InSearchOfTheTruth and #PAFMeet to bring attention to the various statement sculptures, steel bubble thoughts, and Thomas’ traveling inflatable Truth Booth. The artist encourages visitors to reveal a truth about themselves to add to his growing collection.
Hank Willis Thomas: The Truth Is I See You is on view at MetroTech Commons through June 3, 2016.