Rises in the East

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Rises in the East


EJ Hill

EJ Hill earned a BFA from Columbia College Chicago (2011) and an MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles (2013). His practice includes writing, painting, sculpture, performance, and installation. Hill’s work largely explores the oppression of and social inequities faced by black, brown, and queer bodies. In his explorations of this theme, he raises the profiles of those who suffer at the hands of authority, wrests power from the perpetrators, and returns it to his subjects, moving the conversation away from violence and injustice and toward healing. In his performances he invokes the resilience of oppressed bodies through gestures and actions that channel his endurance. Hill’s work has been featured in exhibitions at the Aspen Art Museum, Colorado (2018); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2018); the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2016); and the Lyon Biennale (2017).

Courtesy Prospect New Orleans.


Joe W. Brown Park, Park Entrance at Read Boulevard and Nature Center Drive, 5601 Read Boulevard, New Orleans, LA 70127


Created 2021; Documented 2021


Photographer(s): Jonathan Traviesa; Neysa Page-Lieberman


Rises in the East is a multimedia installation (fiberglass and marine-coated steel, 564 x 1128 x 108 inches), in the form of a demi-circle, whose structure resembles that of a ferris wheel. This sculpture was featured in Prospect.5: Yesterday we said tomorrow, 2021–22.


Prioritizing Black leisure in a metropolitan community, EJ Hill’s Prospect.5 contribution takes as its focal point Six Flags Jazzland, a major amusement park in New Orleans East that opened in 2000 and was shuttered five years later after Hurricane Katrina. Viewing the park’s closure as the loss of space for Black joy, Hill researched what happened to the now defunct theme park and what plans are in store for its future, as the city redevelops it. Particularly taken by the Big Easy Ferris Wheel, a massive and iconic structure, Hill used a gondola, or enclosed seat, from this ride as the centerpiece of his sculpture installed in New Orleans East, the community most impacted by the park’s closure.

In Ferris wheels, Hill finds a subtle but splendid thrill, elevating riders to rarely accessible heights and offering spectacular vistas in a cyclical up and down loop. Joe W. Brown Park is a space where Black residents continue to play, connect, and celebrate—it is a point of community pride. This sculpture, Rises in the East, is a monument to the recent history of New Orleans and to the existence, persistence, and necessity of everyday pleasures.

Presented by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Open Society Foundations.

Courtesy Prospect New Orleans.


Black Joy, Radical Joy




EJ Hill press coverage by CBS News: https://www.cbsnews.com/amp/news/new-orleans-prospect-exhibition-black-culture-impact/


This project was specifically commissioned for Prospect.5: Yesterday we said tomorrow, 2021–22. Courtesy the artist and Commonwealth & Council, Los Angeles.




Artist: EJ Hill, https://www.ejhill.info/contact; Photographer(s): Jonathan Traviesa, Neysa Page-Lieberman