Arlington Arts Center and the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia are pleased to present Passage, a site-specific public artwork by artist Lynda Andrews-Barry.
Passage will include 26 large-scale sculptures created from driftwood, rebar, metal hardware, and canvas sails—designed to evoke the ships that transported more than 12 million kidnapped and enslaved Africans across the Atlantic Ocean between the 16th and 19th centuries. The artwork skillfully reflects the ways in which Virginia was implicated in, and continues to be impacted by, this history, while also grappling with the legacy of Matthew Fontaine Maury.
Known as the “Pathfinder of the Seas,” and the “Father of Oceanography,” Maury was a pioneer of naval navigation. The systems he developed for recording and charting oceanographic data revolutionized ocean navigation, drastically reducing the length of ocean voyages and allowing for more efficient trade and transport in the 19th century.
A commander in the United States Navy, Maury resigned his post in 1861 to become a commander in the Confederate Navy and later Secretary of the Navy for the Confederacy. During the Civil War, Maury traveled to Europe, where he used his connections and reputation to acquire ships for the Confederacy and to lobby on its behalf with European leaders. Arlington Arts Center’s historic building originally housed the Clarendon School, which was renamed the Maury School in 1944. The grounds surrounding the building, where Andrews-Barry’s work will be installed, continue to be known as Maury Park.
Artist Andrews-Barry has a very personal connection to the region’s past as she is descended from enslaved people who were brought to Virginia and Maryland. It was this family history that drove her to respond to Maury’s legacy.
Passage is the result of a unique partnership between AAC and the Community Foundation. The work was funded by the Foundation’s Ross-Roberts Fund for the Arts, and is undertaken in cooperation with Arlington Public Art.Learn More