Alexandria’s annual art installation, Site See: New Views in Old Town, has enchanted and enriched visitors since its genesis in 2019. Now in its fifth year, yet another exhibit is set to land in Waterfront Park this month. The new installation, Two Boxes of Oranges and Admonia Jackson, provides an immersive look at the products that once sailed from Alexandria’s ports, and sheds light on the city’s role in slave trading.
From March through November, guests can take in the story told by this year’s installation. Excavations at Alexandria’s Hotel Indigo Site in 2015 and Robinson Terminal South site in 2018 inspired New York-based architect and artist Nina Cooke John. The digs unearthed two 18th century ships — stark reminders of Alexandria’s dark history as a player in the transatlantic and domestic slave trades.
The installation models a broken down ship’s hull. Along the exhibit’s sides and ground, visitors will see words like “gin” and “coconuts” that represent cargo carried from Alexandria’s ports, as well as the names of enslaved people whose harrowing stories took place aboard those ships.
Visitors are invited to walk around and through the artwork, read these names, and ponder the city’s past in a unique and eye-opening way.
Two Boxes of Oranges and Admonia Jackson opens on March 25, and will remain in Alexandria through November. Visitors are welcome daily from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Feature image courtesy Visit Alexandria
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