Waterfront Art 2023
<48HD> ‘Two Boxes of Oranges and Admonia Jackson’
Created by New York architect and artist Nina Cooke John of Cooke John Studio, “Two Boxes of Oranges and Admonia Jackson” is the fifth in the “Site See: New Views in Old Town” annual public art series. It follows R&R Studio’s “I Love You” installation and will be on display through November.
“Through the ‘Site See’ series, we continue to bring engaging, contemporary art to Alexandria’s unique waterfront,” said Diane Ruggiero, director of Alexandria’s Office of the Arts and deputy director for the Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities in a press release. “The public has truly embraced this series and each of the unique installations and we look forward to sharing Nina’s work with Alexandria’s residents and visitors.”
Cooke John’s installation forms an abstracted ship’s hull with steel vertical elements
Cooke John researched the recent archaeological digs that took place along the waterfront, using those findings as inspiration for her design. Text on the vertical elements and the ground reveals fragments of information taken from the manifests of ships that arrived to the Port of Alexandria in the 18th century. Lists of cargo such as “herring”, “coconuts” and “gin” are painted on the ground and embedded in the vertical elements alongside names found in the manifests, such as “Jane Tailor, female, 5’-2.” Also listed are “two boxes of oranges” and “Admonia Jackson.”
A native of Jamaica, Cooke John is the founding principal of Studio Cooke John Architecture and Design. Her work has been featured in numerous publications and she is also the artist behind the new Harriet Tubman Monument in Newark, N.J. Cooke John was selected to create the site-specific artwork by a community task force with approval from the Alexandria Commission for the Arts.
An opening reception celebration will be held March 25 from 2-5 p.m. in Waterfront Park. The reception is free and open to the public.
Visitors can see “Two Boxes of Oranges and Admonia Jackson” at Waterfront Park from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily beginning March 25. The artwork will remain on view until November 2023.
To learn more about public art in Alexandria, visit alexandriava.gov/PublicArt.