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Howard University’s Only and Last Sculpture Major Leaves a 9-Foot Tall Legacy Behind

By Michele Henix, Howard University News Service
On December 13, 2017

Brain Green is currently the only and last sculpture major at Howard University. After his graduation in May this matriculation scheme will be discontinued. He spent his final fall semester building a 9-foot tall sculpture that was featured on Washington, D.C.’s National Mall in Catharsis On The Mall of Vigil Healing three-day art festival.

Howard University student, Brian Green with his sculpture 'Da Wa Da' on the National Mall in Washington D.C.- Contributed Photo

“I hold the responsibility to keep a legacy for Howard on my own and I was honored Catharsis asked me to be a featured artist,” Green said.

The 23-year-old Richmond, Virginia native built an Afrocentric artwork entitled 'Da Wa Da'. The 1,000 pound, 9-foot tall, kinetic sculpture was made from scrap metal Howard University threw away after knocking down one of their abandoned buildings on Sherman Avenue. The functionality of a kinetic sculpture was a high priority since this artwork was built as a tribute to Green’s brother who is a dancer. The first major step in Green’s legacy is his series of kinetic sculptures called Basic Street Alchemy that he considers to be “dancing sculptures” because they literally move on their own.   

 “I was astonished that people were astonished that I made my sculpture,” Green said.

Green said being the only Black artist out of twenty-seven featured in the event, was a surprise to numerous guests. The experience of people being surprised that he was qualified to be a featured artist  has given him motivation to become a notable sculptor.

Green does not hold a negative view on Howard discontinuing his major due to the lack of students registering for this scheme.  He hopes his success may one day make Howard reconsider their decision and reopen this major as an option.

The structure of Da Wa Da resembled a bird. By coincidence, another sculptor by the name of Debbie Baxter who is famous for building giant birds nest for people to photograph themselves inside of, had her exhibit placed close to Green’s. They both decided to pull their artwork together on the last day of the event.   

Brian Green working on 'Da Wa Da'. - Contributed Photo

“This is a very tight-knit community so most sculptures work together on projects,” he said. 

Catharsis On The Mall of Vigil Healing is a sub-show in the nation’s capital thrown by the Burning Man, another art show held in the Nevada desert with over 50,000 attendees each year.  To be featured in the Burning Man is one of Green’s ultimate career goals. These events are famously known for showcasing various types of sculptures such as a twenty-foot tall tribute burn (burning wood) that sits in the center of the field and a Abraxas which is a school bus designed as dragon with performers on its roof while it drivers around the perimeter of the event.

“The art displayed is very unique and definitely worth standing in the cold to see and talk to these artist, simply amazing,” Aric Catimbang, 20, of Prince George County said.

In the future, Green sees himself as a figurehead artist, pioneering his own gallery that turns into a music venue at night so he may entertain through art, teach, as well as inspire others.

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