O, sweep of stars over Harlem streets,
O, little breath of oblivion that is night.
A city building
To a mother’s song.
A city dreaming
To a lullaby.
Reach up your hand, dark boy, and take a star.
Out of the little breath of oblivion
That is night,
Take just
One star.

—Langston Hughes, Stars (1921) in The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, p. 85.

MZ.14 (Celestial Bodies)  is series of memorials for which I will plan to purchase a star in the name of a person of color who has lost their life to racial and/or sexual violence.  The funds for this series, which begins with Freddie Gray, will be raised through public donations, institutional grants, and the sale of an open edition sculpture of a telescope that I will produce.

The stars to be purchased are ones that were visible in the same area where and at the same time when the named person was killed so that the members of that community may look to the sky and metaphorically see their loved one as a celestial being. The stars themselves will be documented through the framing of the certifying documents provided by Cosmo Nova, a star-naming company.

In an effort to ensure complete transparency, each framed print and subsequently “owned” star will be donated to a local institution that is devoted to the preservation of POC life and culture.  Violence against POC goes as far back as the inception of the history of this nation, and I intend to honor these victims’  lives until I run out of stars in the sky.