A monument commemorating Vice President Kamala Harris as the first woman of color elected to the nation’s second-highest office was installed in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., earlier this week.
The portrait, which measures 6-by-6 feet and weighs 350 pounds, is made from a sheet of cracked glass meant to symbolize how Harris shattered the glass ceiling, according to The Associated Press.
View from the Lincoln Memorial pic.twitter.com/vTKJYzwSmW
— Isabel Lara (@isalara) February 5, 2021
“This will just be a wonderful visual emblem of this moment in time and hopefully people will reflect a little bit on all the barriers that have been broken by her election,” said Holly Hotchner, president and CEO of the National Women’s History Museum, a group that co-sponsored the display.
Lindsay Kaplan, a co-founder of Chief, which is a networking organization for female executives that also co-sponsored the portrait, said, “I think what makes it so moving to me is to see the tiny cracks, to see those fissures and everything they represent.”
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The piece, which was commissioned by creative agency BBH New York, was fashioned by glass artist Simon Berger. Using a hammer, Berger broke a piece of laminated glass until it resembled a photograph of Harris taken by Celeste Sloman. “I hit the glass directly with the hammer, so that cracks and impacts occur,” he said. “Hard hits create abstraction and I ‘paint’ with targeted fine hits.”
The project took about a day to complete in Berger’s Swiss studio, after which it was carefully shipped to New York.
“We wanted it to really be like a show-stopping piece that people are going to see and interact with and really celebrate her in the way that she should be,” said Liz Loudy, who is a creative director at BBH New York.
The daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants, Harris was the first black senator from California and was also the first woman and person of color to be the state’s attorney general.
“When our very democracy was on the ballot this election, with the very soul of America at stake,” Harris said during a victory speech in Wilmington, Delaware, in November. “You ushered in a new day for America.”
“For four years, you marched and organized for equality and justice. And then you voted. And you delivered a clear message. You chose hope and unity, decency, science and yes, truth,” Harris continued. “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last. Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.”
The portrait is slated to remain at the Lincoln Memorial until 9 p.m. on Saturday night, after which it will go to the Chief office in New York and be displayed publicly somewhere else yet to be announced.
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