A starlit tree, draped by a quilt, with meaning culled from America’s racism and lynching — and from a Billie Holiday masterwork — has taken roots at Harvard. This tree by artist Sanford Biggers has just been placed for a monthlong viewing in the transept at Memorial Hall and Sanders Theatre.“Constellation (Stranger Fruit)” is what Biggers dubs “a surreal tableau.” The work summons heavenly constellations and patterned 19th century quilts embedded with secret codes, both of which helped to steer escaped slaves north along the Underground Railroad.“This whole notion of navigating the Eastern Seaboard via the stars, as Harriet Tubman did, has been on my mind a lot,” said Biggers of his “tree growing in the cosmos.”“I think of the installation as abstracting history and creating an infinite reflection between stellar constellations and the points on the Underground Railroad.”Boston, a central stop on the network of escape routes and safe houses from the South before the Civil War, suitably fits Biggers’ scheme. Approached last year by the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies to teach a class, Biggers coincidentally was contacted shortly afterward by the Office for the Arts (OfA), which hoped to commission a piece.“So I merged the two,” said Biggers, who became the 2009 Marshall S. Cogan Visiting Artist through the Public Art Program of OfA. Based out of New York, Biggers will join Columbia University’s arts faculty in 2010.“‘Strange Fruit’ is the mantra present in my work because of its historical value in Americana,” he explained. “The tree is a mixed metaphor. It’s not just a tree of death but a tree of life, an axis mundi between heaven and earth.”The exhibit runs until Dec. 2. A conversation with Biggers will take place on Nov. 16 at 6 p.m. at the Sackler Museum, and vocalist Imani Uzuri will perform at the installation site at 4 p.m. on Nov. 18, followed by an informal exchange with the artists.Uzuri will debut two compositions, continuing a collaboration with Biggers that started years ago with a theatrical interpretation of the Abel Meeropol poem “Strange Fruit,” famously sung by Holiday. “She’s the cosmic oracle, a wise chanteuse singing under the tree,” said Biggers.Koto player Sumie Kaneko and Harvard’s own KeyChange will contribute to Biggers’ artistic journey between earthly and heavenly realms.For more information visit the Office for the Arts at Harvard.
“Beware of the potential rainfall accompanied by lightning in the South and East Jakarta areas in the afternoon until late at night, and in the Thousand Islands regency at night until early morning,” the agency tweeted on Thursday morning.Read also: High intensity rain triggers flooding in parts of Aceh, Central KalimantanBPBD Jakarta said areas that were at risk of tidal flooding included Kamal Muara, Kapuk Muara, Penjaringan, Pluit, Ancol, Marunda, Cilincing and Kalibaru in North Jakarta, as well as Kamal in West Jakarta.The agency has disseminated information on the water level increase and potential rainfall to residents living on the coast of North Jakarta and the Thousand Islands in order for them to anticipate flooding. Several parts in North Jakarta are at risk of tidal flooding as the water level at a nearby floodgate rose following hours of heavy rainfall on Wednesday afternoon, inundating at least 20 community units (RW) across the capital.The Jakarta Regional Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) recorded an increase in water level at the Pasar Ikan floodgate in North Jakarta to 210 centimeters, raising the standby alert status early on Thursday.Although the water level receded later in the morning, the agency warned that there might be more heavy rainfall in several parts of Jakarta on Thursday. Topics : Following heavy rainfall on Wednesday afternoon, at least 20 community units in Jakarta were flooded, according to the BPBD Data and Information Center.“Data showed that at 3 p.m., 20 community units were inundated,” center chief Insyaf told tribunnews.com on Wednesday.The affected community units were spread across 10 subdistricts in East and South Jakarta, consisting of Bangka, Kebon Baru, Duren Tiga, Rawa Jati, Batu Ampar, Cililitan, Cipinang Cempedak, Jati Padang, Pejaten Timur and Bintaro.Water levels in residential areas ranged from 10 to 90 cm deep.After the heavy rainfall, Mampang and Pulo Rivers in South Jakarta overflowed and caused flooding in some areas, including Bangka and Jati Padang. (syk)