Four Freedoms Park Conservancy is pleased to unveil a new public artwork by Shaun Leonardo titled Between Four Freedoms on September 30th at Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms State Park on Roosevelt Island.
As the starting point for this work, Leonardo facilitated workshops with a hybrid community of individuals who self-identify as vulnerable, due to markers such as gender identity, disability, ethnicity, race, and legal system involvement. Utilizing a process of visual storytelling, the group was guided in reinterpreting the values espoused in President Roosevelt’s historic Four Freedoms speech through the lens of their lived experiences.
Hand gestures drawn from the series of workshops will serve as the basis of these monumental vinyl murals to be applied to the granite walls of the Park, situating bodily movement as an intimate window into the truths that evade spoken language. The gestures will also be activated by virtual animations, opened via QR Code, providing a unique, intimate window into the artist’s performance practice, while inviting guests to directly listen to the narratives of the workshop participants. By spotlighting the perspectives of some of the City’s most vulnerable populations, Leonardo re-envisions Roosevelt’s seminal speech, offering a collaborative and inclusive update for our times that instigates the promise of inalienable rights.
Delivered in 1941, Roosevelt’s address — which lends its name to the park where Leonardo’s installation will be shown — called for the protection of global democracy, promoting freedom of worship, freedom of speech, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. Its central tenets are as relevant now as ever, and as Leonardo’s work reminds us, these freedoms are inherent to the dignity of every individual. Attending to the narratives and human lives often overlooked, Leonardo’s project celebrates the embodied knowledge and experiences of groups that have been marginalized, creating a stunning public artwork in collaboration with some of New York’s most vulnerable community members.
Shaun Leonardo: Between Four Freedoms will be on view through November 1, 2021 at Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms State Park.