Sandy Williams IV’s photo and video installation documents 40 ACRES: Weeksville, a multilayered public performance that took place in the sky above Crown Heights, Brooklyn on Juneteenth 2023. A skywriter traced the borders of the historic Weeksville community—an area 492.72 acres in total—in the sky to honor the legacy of one of the first recognized free Black communities in the country, which occupied the location from 1838 to around 1930. This skywriting pays homage to the memory of Freedmen communities, and acknowledges histories and forms of social oppression that are often unseen and paved over, by connecting current national inequities to the failures of Reconstruction in the United States after the Civil War.
The flyover took place in partnership with the Weeksville Heritage Center’s Juneteenth Food Festival. 40 ACRES: Weeksville was commissioned by The Shed and was debuted there in the Fall of 2023 as part of the exhibition Open Call. It was developed in collaboration with the Weeksville Heritage Center and has been generously supported by the University of Richmond.