On October 10th, 2019 Providence College Galleries [PC–G] and newly launched non-profit My HomeCourt [MHC], in collaboration with Providence Parks, will unveil extraordinary new court murals at the Omar Polanco Basketball Court in Harriet & Sayles Park, Providence, RI.
This second annual My HomeCourt commission is located at Harriet & Sayles Park and features court murals designed by internationally renowned artists Joiri Minaya and Jordan Seaberry. It’s opening coincides with the renaming of the park’s court to Omar Polanco Basketball Court to honor the legacy of hope and generosity of the late Omar Polanco, his family and the local community.
In late 2018, Providence Parks Superintendent Wendy Nilsson reached out to the Polanco family with the idea to rename the basketball court area at Harriet & Sayles Park. In 2019, the Providence Board of Park Commissioners approved Nilsson’s request to officially rename the Fogarty Basketball Court to honor the memory of Omar, a beloved young man who tragically died as a result of gun violence in 2012.
Each artist designed one half of the court as well as the border framing the other’s design. Minaya, who is based in New York, is known for multi-media installations that explore constructions of identity and multi-cultural social spaces. She designed one half of the My HomeCourt mural to celebrate the Dominican-American cultural heritage of the neighborhood by prominently featuring flora native to the Caribbean landscape. Washes of blues and greens evoke a calming, watery backdrop for a lush bouquet of Plumeria, Caoba and Flaboyan flowers, among other tropical plants.
Seaberry, an artist and activist who lives and works in Providence, took a more personal approach. The side of the court he designed shows a transcendent silhouetted figure of Omar framed by sublime imagery—night skies, glistening water, palms, doves and ribbons—rendered in a dramatic color palette symbolizing love, hope and goodwill.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Joiri Minaya (b. 1990) is a Dominican-American multi-disciplinary artist whose work navigates binaries in search of inbetweenness, investigating the female body within constructions of identity, multicultural social spaces and hierarchies. Recent works focus on destabilizing historic and contemporary representations of black and brown womanhood in relation to an imagined tropical identity. She graduated from the Escuela Nacional de Artes Visuales (D.R.), the Altos de Chavón School of Design and Parsons: The New School for Design. Minaya has exhibited across the Caribbean and the United States.
Jordan Seaberry (b. 1989) is a Providence artist and activist. His monumental paintings and collages recall the scale and gravitas of historical history and portrait painting—genres historically reserved for depicting the events and figures of colonial powers that were. Seaberry, however, subverts the format by using this manner of painting to explore less visible histories of family, community and race. His most recent series of paintings, called The Violences Project, highlights the epidemic of deadly violence in our cities. He earned a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, and currently works as Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence. Seaberry has exhibited artwork nationally.