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Flying Home: Harlem Heroes and Heroines (Downtown and Uptown)

125 St (2/3)

Flying Home: Harlem Heroes and Heroines (Downtown and Uptown)

Faith Ringgold
Artwork in mosaic by Faith Ringgold showing famous people and places from Harlem’s history.
“Flying Home: Harlem Heroes and Heroines (Downtown and Uptown)” (1996) by Faith Ringgold at 125th Street Station. Photo: Trent Reeves

About the project

“Flying Home” is a mosaic mural that honors Harlem notables and makes them fly. The mural on one platform depicts performers, painters, and sports figures like Dinah Washington, Sugar Ray Robinson, and Josephine Baker. The opposite platform shows leaders like Malcolm X and writer Zora Neale Hurston, brought to life in mosaics that recall the cultural zenith of Harlem. The title is based on a Lionel Hampton song which Faith Ringgold heard as a child. The artist sought to capture its spirit in this work, which she expressed by posing the figures as if they were in flight. "I love every one of these people," Ringgold says, "I wanted to share those memories, to give the community - and others just passing through - a glimpse of all the wonderful people who were part of Harlem. I wanted them to realize what Harlem has produced and inspired."

About the artist

Born in Harlem, Faith Ringgold is a widely celebrated painter, mixed media sculptor, performance artist, writer, teacher and lecturer. She received her B.S. and M.A. degrees in visual art from the City College of New York and is Professor Emeritus of Art at the University of California in San Diego. Ringgold has received 23 Honorary Doctorates. Faith Ringgold’s vibrant paintings and narrative quilts trace how 20th-century social changes have influenced African American experience. She incorporates text, portraiture, elements of African American story quilts, and references to Nigerian and Ghanaian decorative masks in her wide-ranging practice. Ringgold has also produced sculptures, performances, and children’s books. Throughout her oeuvre, she has told rich stories about history, violence, power, and Black identity. Ringgold has exhibited in New York, Paris, London, Los Angeles, and Chicago, among many other cities. Her work belongs in the collections of institutions including the Brooklyn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the High Museum of Art, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Faith Ringgold has been represented worldwide exclusively by ACA Galleries since 1995.