Common Ground

Common Ground

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Common Ground by Wopo Holup - Front
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"Common Ground" by the artist Wopo Holup. Patterns of trees and grasses cover most of two large granite walls for the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway Project. The trees represent the forests once located in this urban environment and grasses of the world are symbolic of the people of Queens who come here from all places on earth.

South Wall Text: I celebrate myself, and what I assume you shall assume, for every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you. I loafe and invite my soul, I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass . . . Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems. You shall possess the good of the earth and sun, there are millions of suns left . . . Loafe with me on the grass loose the stop from your throat, not words, not music or rhyme I want not custom or lecture, not even the best, only the lull I like, the hum of your valved voice . . . A child said, what is the grass? Fetching it to me with full hands; how could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any more than he. I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green stuff woven . . . Or I guess the grass is itself a child, the produced babe of the vegetation. Or I guess it is a uniform hieroglyphic, and it means, sprouting alike in broad zones and narrow zones, growing among black folks as among white, Kanuck, Tuckahoe, Congressman, Cuff, i give them the same I receive them the same . . . This is the grass that grows wherever the land is and the water is, this is the common air that bathes the globe. This is the breath of laws and songs and behavior, this is the tasteless water of souls, this is the true sustenance. Walt Whitman 1855

North Wall Text: Grass grows wherever people live on earth. These images of grass are dedicated to the people of Queens who have come here from everywhere on earth. Corn found in the Tehuaca Valley Mexico dating from 5500 BCE. Oats existed in Europe in the bronze age. Wheat domesticated in the fertile crescent of Asia 8000 BCE spread through Europe Africa India then to America Australia New Zealand. Eleusine Indica common weed eastern united states. Smooth broom first cultivated in Hungary introduced to California in 1884. Pleuropogon californicus marshy ground San Francisco. Festuca arida sandy dry ground Oregon. Sugar cane originally from New Guinea transported through India Africa Brazil and Caribbean grows to 40 feet. Mesquite grass prairies Ontario to Argentina. Ctenium from greek, ktenion, a little comb. Rice in china 3000 BCE modern rice cultivated in Philippines wild rice harvested by American Indians. Sickle grass mud flats along New Jersey coast introduced from Europe. Timothy native to England grown in America by Timothy Hanson 1720. Barley ancient crop southern Europe. Rye cultivated Russia and elsewhere in northern Europe. Bamboo native to China and Japan shoots eaten stems used for boat masts weapons writing pens. Millet from Eastern Asia milium of the Romans and dokan of Hebrews.Sorghum domesticated 5000 years ago in Africa.

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Common Ground by Wopo Holup - Front

Michael Stark

image added by Queens DiverCity NYC

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