Faculty member Hank Willis Thomas exhibits The Truth Is I See You, an installation sponsored by the Public Art Fund.
Brooklyn is one of the most diversely populated areas in the world, bringing together cultures from all corners of the globe. The Truth Is I See You is part of an ongoing series by Brooklyn-based artist Hank Willis Thomas that explores the nature of truth and understanding across cultures. Using the phrases of a poem written in collaboration with artist Ryan Alexiev, the core of the exhibition is a new series of comic book-inspired speech balloon signs that feature universal statements about truth in 22 of the many languages spoken in Brooklyn. Installed along the MetroTech Promenade, each sign also features an English translation of the phrase and is accompanied by a pronunciation guide. Thomas arrived at these translations by working with an extended network of friends to communicate the essence of each English statement, as opposed to a direct translation. Within the Commons, the speech balloon is repeated in new sculptural works: two benches of rolled steel create circular spaces for contemplation, while a large-scale steel tree has branches that seem to grow into thought bubbles. Together these works invite us to approach our different perspectives on truth with a new sense of understanding.