Artist Alison Saar unveiled her sculpture honoring activist, playwright and journalist Lorraine Hansberry, entitled To Sit Awhile, in Times Square. This was a fitting place for the first of three pop-up locations for this monument in the New York area, since Hansberry ~ author of ‘A Raisin in the Sun‘ ~ was the first Black woman to have her work produced on Broadway.
Now leaving its pop-up location in Times Square, Lorraine Hansberry: To Sit Awhile by artist Alison Saar is on its way to The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem to be on view from June 13th to June 18th. This is another location close to Hansberry, since she at one time worked at the Harlem-based newspaper ‘Freedom’ advocating for civil rights in the 1960s.
The sculpture, To Sit Awhile, will be surrounded by five bronze chairs, each representing a different aspect of Hansberry’s life and work ~ The Modernist Chair (recalls the chair she sat on while writing her plays); The Office Chair (represents her career as a journalist writing for Freedom magazine); The Stool (stands for her contributions as a feminist and early LGBTQ activist); The Ottoman (evokes the one she sat on in Robert Kennedy’s living room while educating the politician on civil rights); and The Bentwood Chair (recalls her childhood home). The chairs are also an invitation to the public to ~ just sit while.
The sculpture, Lorraine Hansberry: To Sit Awhile by artist Alison Saar will be on view at The Schomburg Center from June 13 through June 18, 2022. The Schomburg Center is located at 101 West 135th Street, NYC.
The five bronze chairs, each representing a different aspect of Hansberry’s life and work, are engraved with a message.
Alison Saar’s work is no stranger to Harlem. Her monument to Harriet Tubman, ‘Swing Low‘ graces a triangular park on West 122nd Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard.
After leaving The Schomburg, Lorraine Hansberry: To Sit Awhile will move on to its final pop-up location, Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 5, before embarking on a national tour. It will then be permanently installed in Chicago, Hansberry’s birthplace, and the setting of ‘A Raisin in the Sun.’
Lorraine Hansberry passed away from pancreatic cancer in 1965 at the age of 34.