Work of the Week: Danh Vo, “We The People”

By on July 4th, 2022 in Blog, Celebrate Asian American, Native Hawaiian, & Pacific Islander Art and Artists, The Collection at Rollins Museum of Art, Work of the Week

Danh Vo

(Danish, b. 1975), We The People (Detail), 2011-16, Copper, 91 x 66 x 22 in. The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art at Rollins College, Gift of Barbara ’68 and Theodore ’68 Alfond, 2018.1.19 © Studio Danh Vo

“We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” -Preamble, The United States Constitution, 1787.

Danh Vo’s We The People sheds light on the fragility and malleability of the concepts of
freedom and democracy. Created as a series of 250 pieces, it recreates a full-scale replica of
the Statue of Liberty, originally constructed by Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi. Vo intentionally
broke up the replica, its many pieces entering the permanent collections of museums
worldwide. The fragments’ diasporic trajectory recall the multiplicity of individual journeys
that made their way at the foot of Lady Liberty as they reached Ellis Island. Inherently woven
into its many segments is the lingering symbolism of the immigrant dream. But the stakes of
that dream have changed, revealing the intricate power systems controlling the arm of
democracy. With disturbing frequency, we have witnessed the blatant disregard for the basic
tenants of human rights. Vo’s choice to only recreate the statue’s thin copper layer serves as
comment and meditation on the frailness of freedom when viewed within the context of our
current moment.

Alexia Lobaina
Associate Curator of Education

See this work by Dahn Vo on our Collection page.

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