New Orleans international contemporary art triennial Prospect.4 closes Feb. 25. The final installation and performances are highlighted by New York artist Kara Walker's The Katastwof Karavan, a steam calliope in a wagon on the levee at Algiers Point.
A recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant, Walker is best known for her murals in silhouette and the 2014 installation of A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby, a giant sphinx-like figure with the face of a black woman constructed in a former Domino Sugar refining plant in New York. It referenced the history of slave labor in the production of sugar in the Western hemisphere. The Katastwof Karavan also addresses the history of slavery, and is placed at Algiers Point because enslaved peoples were held there before being sold at locations on the East Bank of the Mississippi. "Katastwof" is the Haitian Creole word for catastrophe, and it refers to the institution of slavery and its role in bringing Africans to European colonies. The wagon has figures in silhouette on its sides and a 32-note steam calliope that resembles those on Mississippi River steamboats. The wagon will be used for musical presentations Feb. 23 to Feb. 25. Some of the music is already programmed and includes songs by Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Cliff, Aretha Franklin, Prince, Sam Cooke, traditional jazz, hymns and protest songs. There also are live performances by pianist Jason Moran, who was commissioned to create music for Karavan. He performs at an invocation for the installation 4:30 p.m. Friday and at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. There's also music at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Friday; 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Saturday; 11:30 a.m and 1:55 p.m. Sunday, the latter serving as a closing ceremony.
During its final weekend, Prospect.4 also has several lectures and panel discussions at other locations. Exhibits at more than 18 museums, galleries and installation sites are open through the weekend. Visit www.prospectneworleans.org for information.