All Power to All People Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Permanent Installation

“Public monuments have a higher charge now. They can celebrate a specific individual, or a group of people, but they should also invite a broader conversation about how a memorial can connect to the rest of the world and represent its people.” - Hank

All Power to All People is a provocative artwork combining the Afro pick and the Black Power salute, both icons of Black identity and empowerment. When Hank conceived of a monumental Afro pick with a raised fist, he wanted to make an object that spoke specifically to African Americans, illustrative of the artist's longstanding investigation into public art's role in shaping collective discourse and societal values. Around the 20th century, Afro combs started to take on a definite cultural and political meaning. The “black fist” was added to the bottom of many Afro combs and is a reference to the Black Power salute that was made popular during the 1960’s civil rights movement. In addition to using the pick as a styling tool, many Black men and women wore the picks in their Afros as a way to express their cultural pride. The Afro pick exists today as many things to different people: it is representative not only of an era but a sound and a counter-culture. It is a uniting motif worn as adornment, a political emblem, and a signature of collective identity. Hank recalls the scale of Pop artist Claes Oldenburg’s monumental everyday objects, such as the Clothespin and Paint Torch, while marking the lack of commemorative statues that address equal justice and belonging.

All Power to All People was recognized by the Americans for the Arts’ Public Art Network Year in Review as one of the top 50 outstanding public art projects from across the country in 2017.

This project was created first for Monument Lab, a public art and History Project curated by Paul M. Farber and Ken Lum and produced by Mural Arts Philadelphia. After its time on the Thomas Paine Plaza in Philadelphia, the work was acquired by the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

Thomas Paine Plaza, Philadelphia, PA, September 16 - November 19, 2017

Currently on View
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA

aluminum and stainless steel
98 x 43 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches

All Power to All People
All Power to All People
All Power to All People
All Power to All People