Nashville’s newest display of public art could easily be overlooked: an antique crib and highchair, littered with baby bottles. It’s in the lobby of the Lentz Public Health Center, and the artwork speaks to the ways racism has harmed public health.
The baby bottles are molded from salt, sugar and lard, representing the abundance of fast food and lack of grocery stores in poor neighborhoods. The crib and highchair draw attention to the high rate of death among black infants and their mothers.
Suspended above the crib is an arched mobile in the shape of Interstate 40 as it cuts through North Nashville — it symbolizes how the highway divided the city’s historically African American neighborhoods.
“It’s definitely all related,” says San Diego-based artist Andrea Chung. “I think it’s discussing a lot of institutional racism that is prominent in pretty much every single city in the country.”
Chung’s installation, titled “Eeny, meeny, miny moe,” is scheduled to remain on display until September. It’s part of a broader project targeting communities impacted by gentrification and funded by the Metro Arts Commission called “Build Better Tables.”
“You can push people farther and farther out, but the problem is never going to go away,” Chung says.
All of the artists received $10,000 stipends to complete their projects. Chung’s project also involves three nutritional cooking workships to be held through the summer with expectant mothers.
The other installations:
- Juan William Chavez, Food Rights Bike, West Nashville Dream Center
- Crystal Z Campbell, Go-Rilla Means War film, Location TBD
- Seitu Jones, The Nashville Bread Oven, Brooklyn Heights Community Garden
- Norf Art Collective, We All Grow When We Eat (bus wrap), MTA
- Otabenga Jones + Associates, The People’s Plate mural
- Tattfoo Tan, S.O.S. Free Seeds Libraries, multiple sites
- Thaxton Waters, Sitting at the Welcome Table, Susan McJimpsey Center
- Tunde Wey, Saartj (chef-artist food service), site TBD