Economy

35-foot-tall sugar sculpture honors black workers

NEW YORK (AP) — A 35-foot-tall sphinxlike sculpture made of sugar is on display at an old New York City factory as a tribute to black workers.

Artist Kara Walker's monumental installation occupies much of the cavernous interior of the former Domino Sugar Refinery in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Four tons of sugar was used to create the female figure. There are several smaller sculptures of young boys covered in molasses with fruit baskets holding unrefined sugar.

A sweet aroma still fills the air in the shuttered factory. The artist is known for exploring issues of race, discrimination, sexual exploitation and power in her work. The full title of the work is "A Subtlety or the Marvelous Sugar Baby an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant."

The head of the large sculpture wears a kerchief and has slightly exaggerated African features. Her breasts are exposed and her fists are thrust out. Walker has described the pose as both submissive and domineering.

She said in an interview with Complex Magazine that she thought of the sphinx as "this woman-like creature or guardian of the city, the keeper of the riddle, the devourer of heroes."

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