An edition of Kehinde Wiley's sculpture, 'Rumors of War' is on temporary display in West Philadelphia as part of the touring exhibition 'Monumental' organised by nonprofit organisation Kindred Arts, New York and creative agency Little Giant Creative, Philadelphia. Wiley's work is one of three sculptures that constitute the tour, which also includes Arthur Jafa’s 'Big Wheel IV' and Hank Willis Thomas’ 'All Power to All People'.
The multi-state tour of these sculptures was conceived with the aim of maintaining the momentum of protests following George Floyd's death and keeping the message at the forefront of cultural conversation.
Wiley's sculpture is approximately 5-feet tall and presents a young, African-American figure dressed in urban streetwear and sitting astride a large horse. The statue is a diminutive version of the 27-feet tall work which has been permanently displayed at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond since December 2019 following its unveiling in Times Square in September 2019. The series is the artist’s direct response to the ubiquitous Confederate sculptures that populate the United States, particularly in the South.
Activist Shakira King lives six blocks from where 'Rumors of War' was installed and has resided in West Philadelphia for most of her life. During the uprising in June after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, King was teargassed on the same block where the statue now sits. She said, “It’s just right that a place that so many of us call home gets a great piece of art by an acclaimed artist. It’s not in some big place, it’s not downtown, it’s not inaccessible. Kids [of West Philly] can walk down this street every day and see the beautifulness that is this sculpture.