This week, local public art project PSA: debuted its newest collaboration, featuring the work of nationally acclaimed photographer and native St. Louisan Adrian Octavius Walker. The six banner piece - titled “We Matter” - was installed on the exterior wall of The Luminary at Cherokee and Ohio.
The installation will be displayed for one year and was made possible, in part, by funding from the National Academy of Design/Edwin Austin Abbey Memorial Trust Fund for Mural Painting in the United States and Cherokee Street Community Improvement District with support from The Luminary.
Adrian Octavius Walker is a mixed media artist based in Chicago, whose work is inspired by the black body, dynamics of the black family and the African American experience. “We Matter” explores Black American beauty traditions among Black men. The intimacy depicted in each photograph erases the possibility of threat often assigned to black men. Instead, it pushes the viewer to see the power of kinship within the Black community.
Walker’s work has been featured in The National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C., The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Time Magazine. This installation is the artist's first large scale public art project in his hometown of St. Louis.
PSA: features text installations by St. Louis artists, writers, and poets and is organized by artists Shannon Levin and Marina Peng. Work has been displayed in various locations throughout the region, including the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, 2222 Chippewa in Marine Villa and as part of The Luminary’s billboard project launched in November 2020.
Photos by RJ Hartbeck