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Last week in New York City’s Duffy Square, Times Square Arts revealed the first public artwork by the artist Pamela Council, A Fountain for Survivors. Paying tribute to survivors and ideas of self-maintenance, the immersive installation follows Council’s practice of creating fountains in the name of Black joy, taking the form of an 18-foot architectural pink grotto, which has an exterior shell made from almost 400,000 individual acrylic nails.
Simultaneously and artwork and an intimate, communal space for reflection, the inside of the shelter reveals is whimsical pink that envelops visitors with sensory devices like warmth, scent, and the sound of a trickling fountain—which sits against the center of its domelike walls, water falling down its pink tiered form. And while the cocoon-shaped exterior appears to be made from a textural plastic from afar, a closer look reveals that its shell-like swirls are composed of the tiny acrylic nails, like one might tile a mosaic.
The opening was celebrated with a public soiree complete with a DJ set by the Brooklyn-based Donwill, caricature drawings, a photo booth, and classic New York bites like hot dogs and street nuts. Highlighting Council’s focus on survival, the trauma-informed Sistas Van Mobile Healing Unit (created by Black Women’s Blueprint)was also in attendance, handing out boxes with food, beauty kits, hygiene essentials, diapers and formula, and more.
Accompanying A Fountain for Survivors, Council’s video Midnight Moment is viewable across 80 Times Square billboards every evening from 11:57 p.m. until midnight through November. Times Square Arts has also invited the artist to activate the work through the course of its presentation with the “Survivor Series” of digital interviews, with programming culminating in a late-night party to be hosted at the plaza on November 12.