“Protector Monuments, Reclaiming The Pedestal”
A public art campaign exploring the intersection of storytelling, art and activism
The series of “Protector monuments” reclaims the public space for all of us—people of color, minorities, refugees, immigrants and women. They provide a new vision and an answer to: whom do we want to remember, celebrate, emulate, and physically and symbolically put on a pedestal?
They aim to empower us to rise as each other’s protectors and create a culture that brings people together in creative ways to deconstruct polarization, hatred and build trust.
An accompanying activation engages the public, shares concrete tools to deconstruct polarization and discover our often unknown power to rise as each other’s Protectors.
The “Protector Monuments” were launched in New York, in Union Square and Washington Square in partnership with Felt NYC volunteer-based community of women dedicated to supporting immigrants and refugees. Following New York, the Monuments were hosted for a large public exhibition in Nashville in conjunction with the National Week of Conversation in partnership with Millions of Conversations and the Nashville Faith and Culture Center to bring communities together.
New York, 2007
Wesley Autrey, a construction worker, noticed a man collapsed on the subway tracks had started convulsing. As the headlights of the train appeared, Autrey jumped onto the tracks to cover the man with his body while the train rolled overhead. “We’re O.K. down here,” Autrey called out to let his two daughters know he wasn’t hurt.
United States, 2016
Isra Daraiseh was 24 years old when she started leading and organizing the efforts of several Muslim organizations to distribute water in Flint, Michigan. Her efforts helped provide residents with clean drinking water, filters, educational materials, free lead testing, and money to assist those affected by toxic drinking water.
Chaim Hochhauser leads the Jewish security patrols that protect London Mosques following anti-Muslim incidents. The Jewish patrol group, which was originally established in order to combat anti-Semitic attacks, has answered a request from Muslim neighbors to include local mosques around the city of Hackney in the patrols.
Mohsen Alwais, a young Syrian refugee, took off his jacket while others stood by and took pictures as a man drowned. A Dutch bystander grabbed him by the shoulder; “Don’t jump in” he said “he’ll pull you under and you’ll both drown.” Mohsen jumped in the freezing water and rescued the man despite not knowing how to swim well.
Antonio Diaz Chacon
United States, 2018
Antonio Diaz Chacon, a 23-year-old undocumented immigrant from Mexico jumped into his car to chase down an alleged child abductor. After the suspected abductor crashed into a traffic pole and fled the scene, Chacon rescued the 6-year-old girl and alerted the police, leading to the arrest of the suspect.
Reclaim This Pedestal
New York, 2021
This 6th pedestal is for you to share your story, or the story of someone you know who has helped or protected others.
Joseph Reginella began sculpting and mold making in 1985 at the age of 14. As a sculptor, he has garnered worldwide attention through his art installations, and the New York Times has dubbed him “the Banksy of monuments.” His work has been commissioned by personalities like Lady Gaga, and institutions such as the Children’s Museum of Manhattan and the 9/11 memorial for the Snug Harbor Cultural Center on Staten Island. In January 2020 Joseph was commissioned to sculpt the five life size figures for the «I Am Your Protector Monuments » series.
The sculptor Alvin Pettit assisted Joseph Reginella with the monuments by sculpting the faces of the Protectors. His work has been commissioned by institutions such as the Museum of Natural History, and companies such as Walt Disney.