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Brooklyn-based artist Hank Willis Thomas debuted his new public art instillation The Truth Is I See You, last Tuesday evening at the Metrotech Promenade in Brooklyn. Thomas partnered with Public Art Fund, to showcase his latest exploration of the nature of truth. This cross-cultural project features comic-like word bubbles in the Metrotech Promenade, each bubble is a stanza from Thomas and fellow artist Ryan Alexiev’s Truth Poem. “The truth is I love you, the truth is I respect you, the truth is I liberate you, the true is I am you.” The word bubbles not only unveil different truths but also represent the different languages that are spoken in the diverse borough such as Spanish, Mandarin, and Arabic with translations behind them.
This powerful piece is accompanied by a video of Thomas, Alexiev, and artist Jim Ricks’ work across the world capturing footage of other people’s “truths” in their mobile, touring Truth Booth. Tuesday evening, the Truth Booth made an appearance at the Metrotech and will come back later this year. Participants had the chance to share their truths into the booth, an intimate experience where participants are asked to finish the sentence “The truth is…” The booth has traveled to other countries like Afghanistan, Ireland, and South Africa.
Walking through the promenade there is a sense of peace and liberation reading and watching others revel their truths about life. While some are funny and light-hearted, others open your mind to the very real struggles that people across the globe are facing. One video recording of a young boy from Afghanistan is heart wrenching, the boy describing his family and town’s struggle to find water everyday. There is no electricity, no food, and barely any water to sustain his community. The Truth Is I See You is truly something to see and experience.
Hank Willis Thomas investigates identity through his artwork, working with photographer, sculpture, and architectural interventions. His work responds to popular culture, media and branding, and how we interpret the world around us.