You're Welcome. 2016
You’re Welcome. replaces the cannons that flanked the entrance of Fort Adams with Newport’s symbol of hospitality, the pineapple. Employing a local custom from the mid 17th century, when sea captains returning from a trip displayed a fresh pineapple outside as a sign of welcome, two pineapples greet visitors to the fort. With the gates open, instead of closed, the site of fortification now welcomes those who approach it versus obstructing entry—its original architectural intent.
The pineapple a commonplace fruit, was once regarded a luxury food because of how expensive it was to transport from the Caribbean to Europe during the age of sail. It was a commodity of privilege, much like sugar in the 19th century. The transit of the pineapple illuminates the history and geography of empires—their creations and accumulations; the circuits of knowledge, capital, labor, goods, and the cultures that characterize them; and their assumed power to name, classify, and rule over lands, peoples, and resources. It is considered “the fruit of colonialism” because while simultaneously destroying cultures and launching empires it symbolized elegance and hospitality.
This piece serves as a reminder of the dignity and grace that is associated with being truly hospitable. That hospitality stems beyond generosity but encompasses acceptance and consideration of others and their beliefs, especially within the context of adversary.
Stoneware, sand, plaster, concrete, steel
Diameter 24”, height 8'
Fort Adams: Drawing Parallels, Listening for Echoes site-specific group exhibition was installed from December 3 – 15, 2016 and supported by the Rhode Island School of Design, Academic Enrichment Fund in cooperation with Fort Adams Trust.
Folding Time in Space by Sofia Ortiz for Volume-1.org
Feature on RISD blog Listening for Echoes at Fort Adams