“It was a sign of hope, like Noah’s Ark.” Community remembrances like this added to a 2016 exhibit at Gallery Aferro exploring work by Kea Tawana, the artist who built an imposing Ark in Newark’s Central Ward in the mid-1980s. Kea’s Ark was made from materials salvaged from the decaying buildings in the neighborhood, and the 3-story Ark became a focal point for national discussions of urban blight and renewal. Kea also created stained glass windows, maintained a vast personal archive, and designed a utopian city. “Kea’s Ark of Newark: A Life in Works” was a joint project of Gallery Aferro and the Clement A. Price Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience at Rutgers University-Newark. The exhibit shed new light on an artist who followed her own vision.
Produced by Susan Wallner, Videography by Joe Conlon.