Coby Kennedy “Kalief Browder: The Box”

Pioneer Works

poster for Coby Kennedy “Kalief Browder: The Box”

This event has ended.

In 2010, Kalief Browder was arrested for a robbery he insists he did not commit. The seventeen-year-old teenager was subsequently imprisoned without trial for over three years at the Robert N. Davoren Center on Rikers Island, a facility known for its culture of violence. During this period, Browder was subject to torturously long segments in solitary confinement—over four hundred days in total—as well as physical and mental abuse by prison guards and inmates. Tragically, the severe trauma caused lasting depression that resulted in his suicide in 2015, approximately two years after his release. Although the city eventually settled a civil lawsuit with his family in 2019, no one was held accountable for having incarcerated Browder for three years with neither trial nor proof.

Artist Coby Kennedy felt compelled to bring this injustice to light, by creating an eight-by-ten-by-six-feet sculpture that replicates the exact dimensions of a solitary confinement cell. Framed by steel, the glass surfaces are etched with line renderings of the bed, barred window, and toilet that sparsely furnish the inhumane settings. Alongside these diagrams are texts that draw parallels between the United States’ carceral centers and Guantanamo Bay, and also critique the gross abuses of civil liberties when innocent men and women are abducted for untried crimes. Viewed from the exterior and lit from below, the sculpture also pays tribute to the overwhelming endurance that Browder, alongside his family members, struggled to maintain.



from July 18, 2021 to September 19, 2021


Coby Kennedy

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