The student creators of a new public art installation in Harvard Yard believe their work, which was inspired by the protests against police brutality and the toppling of Confederate statues around the U.S., can drive change.
Prominently set in view of the John Harvard Statue between the red clay academic buildings and residence halls, “Inclusions” features ceramic bricks, designed by Harvard students in response to the prompt: “If these bricks could speak, what would they say?” Their etchings included drawings, hashtags, quotes, and political messages about the world of Harvard and beyond.
The installation sets smaller, blank bricks in an alternating pattern with the 200 etched ones in a metal frame, giving the appearance of a wall. Luke Reeve, a master’s student in design engineering at the Graduate School of Design, designed and led the building of the structure in the Yard. Co-creator Cecilia Zhou ’23, a joint concentrator in English and the history of art and architecture, said the intent was to create a space for students to send their own messages to each other and the University and to make a physical mark upon the storied institution.
“We started to think about Harvard and what it means to visually represent our collective identity as an institution and as students,” said co-creator Kiana Rawji ’23, at a panel discussion Tuesday titled “Inclusions: Envisioning Justice on Harvard’s Campus,” which celebrated the installation. “And we wondered what it would look like if you put student minds together to create something that stood for what we believe, what we value now as an institution.”