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My Homecourt: Sanford Biggers

October 25, 2023–Ongoing

Ninth Street Courts, Providence, RI

Program Description:

In October 2023, My HomeCourt [MHC] and Providence College Galleries [PCG], in collaboration with Providence Parks, will unveil newly refurbished and designed sports courts at the Ninth Street Courts in Providence’s Mount Hope neighborhood. The renovated basketball and tennis courts, along with new pickleball lines, will feature a court mural designed by the nationally renowned artist Sanford Biggers.

Over the last two decades, Sanford Biggers (b.1970) has developed a singular body of work deeply informed by American history and traditions, and their intersection with urban culture, sacred geometry, and abstracted symbolism. Biggers’ famous Codex series—mixed-media paintings and sculptures done directly on or made from pre-1900 antique quilts—draws from the long-debated narrative that during the 19th century, quilts doubled as signposts along escape routes of the Underground Railroad. Although the artist’s work begins with textiles more than a century old, their unusual yet exuberant color palettes and graphic compositions convey an urban pop sensibility that is distinctly contemporary.

Biggers’ mural design for the Ninth Street courts will build upon his past textile artworks and take inspiration from the unique cultural histories of the neighborhood’s past and present communities.

On being commissioned for My HomeCourt 2023, Bigger says, “I am very excited to receive the invitation to create a new mural at the Ninth St. Courts. I see it as an opportunity to integrate my interest in patchwork, not only as a visual technique, but also as a social platform and stage where members of the community can come together to practice, play, and interact.”

Jamilee Lacy, who is curating My HomeCourt 2023, explains that she “invited Biggers to design the artwork for this year’s court because of his ongoing interest in cultural intersections. Within the context of the Mount Hope neighborhood, rich with the ancestral narratives of Providence’s Black, Quaker, Jewish and indigenous communities, the artist’s signature quilt-inspired imagery has the capacity to be truly inclusive.”

About the Artist

Sanford Biggers (b. 1970) was raised in Los Angeles and currently lives and works in New York City. Biggers has been honored for his work with awards and fellowships. In February 2023, he was honored by Morehouse College for the 2023 Bennie Achievement Award. In 2022, he was honored for his achievements by the Art Production Fund, Orange County Museum of Art and Studio Museum in Harlem’s Lea K. Green Memorial. In 2021, he was the recipient of 26th Heinz Award for the Arts; Savannah College of Art & Design’s deFINE Art Award; and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Visiting Professor and Scholar in the Department of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA. In 2020, he was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship and appointed Board President at Sculpture Center, Long Island City, NY. Biggers was inducted into the New York Foundation for the Arts Hall of Fame in 2019 and received the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in 2018. In 2017, he was presented with the Rome Prize in Visual Arts. Biggers was Associate Professor of Visual Arts at Columbia University School of the Arts from 2009-2019.

Through a commission from the Art Production Fund, Biggers presented, Oracle, a monumental bronze sculpture and multimedia public art installation at Rockefeller Center in New York City in 2021. Oracle traveled to the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA on March 26, 2023 and is currently on view until March 24, 2024. In 2022, Biggers debuted a 24-foot-wide-by-16-foot-tall multimedia outdoor sculpture that operates as a combination and continuation of Biggers’ Chimera, Shimmer, and Codex series at the grand opening of Orange County Museum of Art. His solo museum exhibition, Codeswitch, a survey of his Codex series of mixed-media paintings and sculptures made with antique quilts was presented at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, NY (2020); the California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2021); and the Speed Art Museum, Louisville, KY (2022). He has also had solo exhibitions at The Phillips

Collection (2021), SCAD Museum of Art (2021), Chazen Museum of Art (2019), Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (2018), the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (2016), the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (2012), and the Brooklyn Museum (2011), among others. His work has been shown in several institutional group exhibitions, including The Studio Museum in Harlem (2001), Whitney Biennial (2002), the Menil Collection (2008), The Tate Modern (2007), Metropolitan Museum of Art (2017), the Barnes Foundation (2017), Museum of Art & Design, New York (2020), Rubins Museum of

Art, New York (2021), and The Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz, France (2022). Biggers’ work is held in the collections of numerous public institutions including the Smithsonian, Museum of Modern Art, Brooklyn Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, Los Angeles County Museum of Contemporary Art, National Museum of African American History and Culture, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, among others.

Press Release

This court was made possible with help from our sponsors:

Friends of Friar Basketball

The Robbins de Beaumont Foundation
The Revolver Fund
The Flanagan Family Fund
The Papitto Opportunity Connection