The installation represents traditional protest posters made for different public manifestations. Where protest signs normally reflect someone’s opinion on a matter, Casado’s sculptures become unique portraits of people from within the community.
He worked with 10 volunteers from the community, capturing macro images of the palms of their hands and running these photos through 3D imaging software, creating an abstraction of the hand.
As no two palms are alike, these photos capture the uniqueness of each person. The back side of the images and the metal posts of each structure also represent details of the volunteers.
The verso and posts are painted in a color representing that person’s skin tone and include text from a questionnaire the volunteers answered about how they self-identify.
“These banners ask us to look at each individual, including the self, as part of the community where we live,” Casado said. “I want to represent the variety of people who live in Queens; all ages, races, genders and sexual orientations. I am unifying them by the distinctive way of representing them, but they still retain their uniqueness.”
Participation is a key theme throughout Casado’s public artwork. This work allows a viewer to interact with it through a site-specific augmented reality app designed by Casado and available to download and use on mobile devices.
The volunteers Casado worked with became an important part of this piece and he plans on donating artworks to the volunteers in gratitude for their participation.
In addition to his artwork in Rufus King Park, Casado currently has another installation, a sculpture, in Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park titled “I Don’t Know Why the CagedBird Sings, Ah Me…”, which opened in October 2018.
Casado took inspiration from Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem “Sympathy,” which also inspired the title of Maya Angelou’s classic autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”
This work is also interactive and has an accompanying augmented reality app. The work will be on view through Fall 2019.
“Public art has the power to make us think, feel and change the world,” Casado said. “In my experience creating several public art projects, the deep value lies in the conversations they create and how they can change the way we view our surroundings.”