Artist Vinnie Bagwell: Her Sculptures of New York’s Slaves Heal & Enlighten

August 4, 2011  |  
Sola and Olumide (Yoruba names): Sola is an abbreviation for “Olusola”, which means “God made grace”; Olumide means “God has come.”

The completed garden will be on the grounds of Philipse Manor Hall, a former estate now well within modern Yonkers’ city limits. The people chosen for depiction in the Enslaved Africans’ Rain Garden represent those forced to work there under bondage. At times up to forty slaves lived crammed into the manor house’s low ceiling attic. They were often skilled laborers, with metalworking and other expertise. The family that owned the estate bought and sold slaves from 1685 to 1695.

Philipse Manor Hall is now a historical museum, but still bears the spirit of the Africans who once toiled on the expansive lands. The important but forgotten history of these slaves will be resurrected in the form of elegant statues, a tribute nestled just steps away from the home they labored in.

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