Yinka Shonibare sculpture unveiled in Atlanta’s Centennial Yards

Centennial Yards, the $5 billion city-center development intended revitalize Downtown Atlanta, has partnered with the City of Atlanta to unveil a new public art installation on the recently renamed Steele Bridge. Wind Sculpture (IV) by the renowned British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare, MBE was acquired by the City to further its mission to offer diverse high-caliber artwork that is accessible to all. 

The 20-foot-tall outdoor sculpture made of ’African’ batik fabric to symbolize our multilayered identities appears to blow in the wind, representing one of the most high-profile contemporary artworks ever acquired by the City.

“We are delighted to partner with the City of Atlanta to provide the community and visitors with acclaimed and thought-provoking artwork like the Wind Sculpture (IV) on Steele Bridge,” Brian McGowan, President of Centennial Yards Company, said. “We recently re-named the bridge to honor Carrie Steele Logan and her trailblazing work as the founder of the country’s first black orphanage, and this new installation by Yinka Shonibare reflects our continued commitment to finding opportunities to lift up diverse voices and highlight our shared culture.”

Wind Sculpture (IV) is part of the artist’s well-known outdoor Wind Sculpture series. Standing at an impressive 20-feet-tall and made of “African” batik fabric, the outdoor sculpture is intended to capture the breeze, resembling a large three-dimensional piece of fabric that appears to be blowing in the wind.  

Shonibare’s trademark material is brightly colored ‘African’ batik fabric, purchased in London. The fabric has a complicated history in its trade routes: It was originally designed as an Indonesian fabric, produced by the Dutch, and the British sold it into the African market. 

The installation is made from glass-reinforced polyester fitted to a steel structure, resulting in a light and strong sculpture that is easy to maintain, with a reinforced polyester surface that is exceptionally durable and resistant. The sculpture was previously displayed to the public in 2014 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago followed by Art Basel Miami Beach.

“The Yinka Shonibare Wind Sculpture (IV) acquisition is representative of the city’s commitment to bring world-class and internationally significant public artworks to the City of Atlanta,” Camille Russell Love, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, said.

About the Artist

Born in the UK and raised in Nigeria from the age of three, Shonibare is known for exploring cultural identity, colonialism and post-colonialism within the context of contemporary globalization in his work. Working in painting, sculpture, photography, film and performance, he examines race, class and the construction of cultural identity.

Shonibare’s work explores the tangled interrelationship between Africa and the West, and our respective economic and political histories. This latest installation from the Wind Sculpture series on Steele Bridge encompasses these ideologies and materials and is uniquely relevant to the history and culture of Atlanta. 

Steele Bridge

As a part of the Centennial Yards development, the original Nelson Street Bridge structure was torn down and a new bridge was constructed in its place, renamed the Steele Bridge after Carrie Steele Logan, who founded the nation’s oldest Black orphanage. Designed by Stevens & Wilkinson and Perkins & Will, the bridge allows mobility and accessibility for Downtown and Castleberry Hill residents and visitors and serves as a public space hosting various community events such as live music, art festivals, farmers markets, and more including the popular new Friday Vibe series.

In addition to the completion of Steele Bridge, Centennial Yards Company recently broke ground on the historic project’s first two ground-up high-rise buildings, an 18-story full-service boutique hotel, and an 18-story residential tower, located adjacent to Mercedes-Benz Stadium and State Farm Arena.

Both towers, designed by award-winning Atlanta-based architecture firms Goode Van Slyke Architects (GVSA) and TVS Architecture + Design, are slated to be completed in 2025.

Centennial Yards will be built by and for Atlantans, and the development includes a 38% goal of minority and female-owned business participation and 25% of entry-level construction jobs at Centennial Yards — and 10% of all construction jobs — are targeted for workers from around Downtown Atlanta.  For more information about Centennial Yards, please visit centennialyards.com.

ABOUT CENTENNIAL YARDS

Centennial Yards is a transformational mixed-use development in Atlanta, the Southeast’s biggest and most influential market. As one of the largest and most ambitious city-center developments in the country, Centennial Yards is expected to revitalize 50 acres of underutilized land in the heart of Downtown Atlanta to connect surrounding communities and create several new city blocks at the junction of the rail lines where the city was founded.

Once complete, Centennial Yards is expected to offer 8-million-square-feet of world-class new commercial and residential space comprised of 4-million-square-feet of dynamic retail, entertainment, modern office, and hotel, and 4-million-square-feet of new residential, as well as a vibrant public realm that will provide outdoor gathering spaces to all Atlantans and visitors of Centennial Yards. 

Anchored by major Downtown attractions, including Mercedes-Benz Stadium and State Farm Arena, one of the Southeast’s largest Sports Entertainment Districts will feature restaurants, bars, a live music venue and other hospitality destinations. With multiple MARTA stations linking the campus with the rest of the city, and in close proximity to the Atlanta Beltline, Centennial Yards is expected to bring increased connectivity, walkability, and 24/7 living to the heart of Atlanta.

Centennial Yards Company serves as the master developer of Centennial Yards and consists of a partnership between an affiliate of CIM Group and a group led by Tony Ressler. For more information visit centennialyards.com.

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