People's Democratic Republic of Brooklyn
Central Library, Lobby Gallery
People's Democratic Republic of Brooklyn by Youme Landowne
People's Democratic Republic of Brooklyn consists of 111 passports originally created as a personal and public conversation about urban redevelopment.
I have lived in cities for most of my life, studying homelessness, home-fullness and social change. I have observed and experienced the pressures which cause migration and border crossing. I want us each to take responsibility and authority for our "legality" and our citizenship, while remembering those who came before us and the choices they made. Collectively, we are the land and water we share. Poet Sekou Sundiata said something to the effect of, "We are all homeless in time." Yet, we all have a home in physical space. Perhaps, we are all owners of homemade passports to self-authorized (?) destinations.
The passports displayed do not yet have owners. Each contains images of Brooklyn through the decades. The dirt road is Ocean Parkway in 1923. The embossed image reads "heart is where the home is" with two open hands. Empty pages are provided so that each owner will personalize and transform them. Our lives and definitions are quite literally in our hands.
Youme Landowne studied cross-cultural communication through art at the New School for Social Research and was a visiting student at the Nairobi and Kyoto campuses of Friends World College. She has written and illustrated for Rainbow magazine in Kenya, and has published illustrations for Girls Inc. and the Hague Agenda for Peace. Her first book, Se La Vi (That is Life): A Haitian Story of Hope, was an ALA Notable Book and won the Jane Addams Award, among others. Her picture book, Pitch Black, is scheduled for a September 2007 release. She currently teaches in the Lang Mural Project at the New School and is a lead muralist for Groundswell Murals in Brooklyn. She has painted murals and led community art projects in Vietnam, Laos, Haiti, Santiago de Cuba, London, San Francisco, New York and Miami.
All images © Youme Landowne.