Howard Skrill, Africa from the Customs House at Bowling Green Manhattan, 2011, Oil Pastel on Paper, 11" x 14"

<p>The figure of Africa slumps provocatively on a pedestal in front of the Customs House in the Battery in Downtown Manhattan. The female figure drapes her arms over a sphinx and a Lion. Her lower torso is thrust forward. The figure is accompanied by the Americas, Asia and Europa. Some of the most provocative public sculptures are on the customs house in Bowling Green, Manhattan. To celebrate the mercantile heritage of NYC, these personifications of the continents, chock full with sculpted shorthands of the deeply racialist worldviews of the works' patrons are truly remarkable and fun to draw. I go on the weekends, because I worked a decade in the shadow of the customs house and loath to have my former colleagues, see me sitting there in my blue folding chair.</p>

 

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