While hanging out in a friend’s yard in North Buffalo, my wife pointed up in the sky and said, “Arrows!” I looked up, and sure enough, there were a couple of “cloud formation” arrows overhead. I immediately knew that artist Kim Beck was behind the artistic skywriting (learn more here). Beck’s public art project, There Here, uses the ephemeral directional arrows to point to sites of major significance, especially in relationship to the historic nature of the international border between the US and Canada.
The US and Canada have affected each other in many ways over the years. Art Historian Toby Lawrence explains the impact of this border in a previous BRO article. “Sited within the city’s rich history and its position as a border town, the arrows rendered in the sky by a skywriting airplane draw attention to the physical and psychological space held by the border and relationships between the United States and Canada.
“Within, the arrows signify guidance and also allude to the history of Buffalo as the traditional lands of the Seneca people, as a migratory and economic gateway, and as a site of resistance and revolution through significant markers of history, such as the War of 1812 and the Underground Railroad that provided access to freedom for Black slaves into Canada,” Lawrence said.
Photographs of the arrows, taken by the artist and the public, will appear on billboards. Examples of the work will be included in Wanderlust: Actions, Traces, Journeys 1967-2017 (UB’s Anderson Gallery – September 7 thru December 31).