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Black and Brown People on Shark Tank
Cherry Street Pier, 121 North Columbus Boulevard, Philadelphia
Black and Brown People on Shark Tank is an interactive installation by Angbeen Saleem, based on a poem by the artist, which was first published by the online literary journal Pigeon Pages. The poem was selected for the just-published anthology Best American Poetry 2021 (Simon & Schuster).
In describing this work Saleem has described her obsession with the television show Shark Tank. “I noticed a pattern in that show where brown and Black people are asked to say the most traumatic things about themselves in order to gain money or resources or connections. So I thought, let me just write from the perspective of somebody who’s on the show and what’s underneath what the judges are actually asking.”
Saleem’s work takes many different forms, which is reflected here in the way her poem first appeared digitally, then on the printed page, and now as an interactive installation. “Poetry, for me, is like a playground of language and delight,” Saleem says. “And to turn this poem into a kind of a playground object, where people can actually touch the words and interact with it, is really exciting.”
This work was commissioned by DesignPhiladelphia and produced through a partnership between the Weitzman School of Design and Office of Facilities and Real Estate Services. It was fabricated at the Weitzman Fabrication Lab by Katie Maas.
Angbeen Saleem is an artist, poet, graphic designer, filmmaker, and farmer raised in Philadelphia, currently living in Brooklyn, by way of Alabama. Saleem (C‘12) is a graduate of Penn’s Urban Studies program. This fall, Saleem, who works in communications at the North Star Fund in New York, will also exhibit work at the Arts Gowanus Open Studios in Brooklyn.
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