Colloqate Design Releases Paper Monuments Interim Report: Imagine New Monuments for New Orleans
Paper Monuments was developed as a project out of the removal of four confederate statues in New Orleans in the spring of 2017. Our collective began with the question, “What’s next?” which grew into an exploration of what had been, what was, and what mattered to New Orleans; an exploration that would unfold throughout the celebration of our city’s Tri-Centennial year, over the arc of a historic municipal election, and within a growing network of projects and cities asking the same questions.
Our process was designed to scaffold various phases and mediums of public art, public history, and public engagement into an ongoing praxis. We created posters and installations to expand public knowledge of New Orleans rich and often contested histories, engaging scholars and artists to tell those stories in compelling ways and creating accessible installations and events in public and civic spaces. We are currently preparing for a second phase of public art, through a temporary collection of jury-selected installations developed by local artists in response to our posters and the pool of residents’ proposals for future monuments.
The public proposals are at the heart of the Paper Monuments process, and by extension at the center of this report. In the following pages you will find a quantitative analysis of the geographic and demographic representation of 747 proposed monuments submitted by New Orleans residents, a number that we expect to more than double by the end of the project. The residents who submitted them live in every zip code in our city, range in age from 3 to 78, and closely match the racial and gender demographics of Orleans Parish.
You will also find a qualitative analysis of the central themes of those proposals, themes which we believe are strong enough to remain consistent even as the number of proposals expands. These include our city’s vibrant cultural history and current practices, an overwhelming desire for greater monumental representation of women and Black people, and a deep, inspiring, insistence upon love in all of its least celebrated but most essential forms; maternal, familial, communal and of course, love of this incredibly special place.
About Paper Monuments
Paper Monuments is a public art and public history project designed to elevate the voices of the people of New Orleans, as a critical process towards creating new narratives and symbols of our city that represent our collective vision, and to honor the erased histories of the people, places, movements, and events that have made up the past 300 years as we look to the future
About Colloqate Design
Established in 2017, Colloqate Design is a multidisciplinary Non Profit Design Justice practice focused on expanding community access to, and building power through the design of social, civic, and cultural spaces. Our mission is to intentionally organize, advocate, and design spaces of racial, social and cultural equity.