The City of Norfolk’s Public Art Program is pleased to present Ascension To A Higher State Of Being, public artwork by Ayokunle Odeleye.
Mr. Odeleye will dedicate the artwork as part of the Martin Luther King Day Celebration and March which takes place every year. The event begins at 10:00 AM, Monday January 15, 2018 at the Crispus Attucks Theatre located at 1010 Church.
Ascension To A Higher State Of Being consists of five sculptures located in the Henry Street median just north of the Attucks Theatre. The large front stainless-steel piece stands 30 feet high. The artwork features a sextant structure which symbolizes efforts of early Church street residents to navigate their way through American and Norfolk society. A male figure with hammer climbs the structure to represent the building and raising up of a variety of institutions within the Church street community by a diversity of residents. A second female figure climbing the sculptural structure suggest the challenges and achievements of those who endeavored to find their footing and climbed the complex societal ladder that faced residents of the Church street community. An African mask at the top of the structure recognizes and pays tribute to African American contributions in the establishment of an important historic community.
Four 8 feet high concrete sculptures line up behind. Each form houses two stainless-steel text plates on both sides. The text was determined by Church street residents, articulating various aspects of community history. Each form also has two circular bronze medallions with images that relate to the narrative.
Ayokunle Odeleye is an acclaimed public artist and a tenured professor of art at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia. He has a Bachelor and a Master of Fine Arts Degrees from Howard University in Washington D.C.