Nari Ward (b. 1963, Jamaica) creates sculptural installations from materials he collects in his neighborhoods, ranging from his original hometown in Jamaica, to Harlem, where he has lived since 1983. Ward’s compositions wrestle with memory and belonging, and address topics from justice to health care.
For his High Line commission, the artist reconfigures a childhood memory. Returning to his father’s home in Jamaica after 15 years away, Ward remembers finding an abandoned car in the front yard, [which was] sprouting a lime tree. He reimagines this story for the High Line with Smart Tree; the form of a Smart Car refinished with tire treads, propped up on cinder blocks, and sprouting an apple tree from its roof.
With the car’s cinderblock base representing stasis, and its coating of tire treads suggesting perpetual movement, Smart Tree holds up a mirror to the flux surrounding the High Line itself and reminds viewers of the park’s history as a major transportation artery in Manhattan.
Smart Tree will be on view at the High Line Park Through March of 2017.