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Artist’s Statue of Black Man Graces Former Capital of Confederacy

A new statue depicting a Black man sitting gallantly atop horseback is among a crop of White Civil War sculptures to grace streets in Richmond, Va., once known as the “Capital of the Confederacy.”

Kehinde Wiley’s “Rumors of War,” a bronze depiction of a young African American man with dreadlocks and Nikes, was a permanent installment outside the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, where hundreds of people, including Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and Gov. Ralph Northam, attended the unveiling this week.

“It is monumental and not just a figure of speech, it is truly monumental, in terms of its ability to be a seismic shift in how we perceive and how we understand ourselves as people living here,” Valerie Cassel Oliver, the museum’s curator of modern and contemporary art, told NPR.

The museum wrote that the new sculpture “commemorates African American youth lost to the social and political battles being waged throughout our nation.”

“It allows you to see someone who’s oftentimes relegated to the periphery is elevated to the status of an icon, to the scale of a God,” Wiley, whose works include an official Smithsonian museum portrait of former President Barack Obama, told NPR.

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