A public art installation that celebrates democracy
Protest, originally installed on Public Square as a temporary public artwork, is by Nigerian-born, Brooklyn-based artist Olalekan ‘LEk’ Jeyifous. The installation series was orginally created as part of LANDFORM and is now permanently installed outside of the Cleveland Public Library Langston Hughes Branch.
LEk was inspired by the history of protest, peace rallies, and civic gatherings that have taken place in Public Square and wanted to acknowledge this tradition through large-scale characters engaged in various forms of that practice.The sculptures show an element of passion and peaceful dissent in the man and woman holding megaphones, a calmer form of public engagement in the person holding up flyers or newspapers, a moment of reconciliation between protesters of differing views or camaraderie between the two individuals sharing a hug. The installation strives to reinforce the notion that at the root of any successful democracy is the right of all members of its citizenry to challenge, question, critique, and ultimately be heard.
Protest consists of four steel silhouettes showing images of people peacefully protesting or making a stand. Each sculpture weighs nearly one ton and is positioned on a large metal base. The silhouettes average about 10 feet in height and are stabilized by seating platforms at the base of each sculpture, creating new spots to gather in Public Square. Protest was installed on Public Square from the summer of 2017 to spring of 2018 and was installed at the library branch in 2019.
LANDFORM is a series of projects of varying scale and medium developed by a diverse group of local, regional, and international artists. The program is made possible through a generous grant from the Char and Chuck Fowler Family Foundation.