The Marvelous Sugar Baby

“At the behest of Creative Time KARA E. WALKER has confected a SUBTLETY or the MARVELOUS SUGAR BABY AN HOMAGE TO THE UNPAID AND OVERWORKED ARTISANS WHO HAVE REFINED OUR SWEET TASTES FROM THE CANE FIELDS TO THE KITCHENS OF THE NEW WORLD on the occasion of the demolition of the DOMINO SUGAR REFINING PLANT…”

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I decided that I wanted to go to this exhibit last week, but I couldn’t because I wasn’t in town (I was in Buffalo with gf’s for the WNY natural hair meet up event- detailed post coming soon).   Needless to say I made it my business to visit the Kara Walker “Marvelous Sugar Baby” exhibit at the Domino Sugar Refinery in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.   I was slated to go with a girlfriend, but things don’t always go as planned.  No worries, though – this unicorn has absolutely no problems going on solo excursions!

I packed my purse (bought the book that I’m currently reading (and loving) Eat, Pray, Love, a bottle of water, peanut m&m’s, a small notebook and pen (because I’m always writing something), an umbrella & my shades.  Weird right, but with this bipolar weather you never know when the sun will stop shining and sudden downpours will arrive).

Getting to the exhibit should have been a seamless trip (via public transportation) from Bed Stuy, but the J train isn’t operating today.  I took a shuttle bus only to have that stop because a sick passenger was seated in the front.  Normally I would have sympathy, but not today.  Why the hell do sick people stay on the bus? This sick passenger couldn’t have been any older than 18 years old.  Word, she couldn’t get off, cross the street and walk her behind into the emergency room of Woodhull Hospital directly across the street from where we stopped?  Whatever, that didn’t happen so I got off and caught a livery cab that dropped me to the exhibit for $12.00.

I exited the cab and saw that there was quite a line.  Good thing I was prepared to wait and clad in comfortable attire (wore my fav tee, a pair of structured black leggings, my Nike dunks, and a jean jacket).  Aside from noticing the long line I noticed that I was only one of very few brown faces in it.  Things that make you go hmmmm………

The end of the line.  Quite long, but I only waiting in line for about 25 minutes.
The end of the line. Quite long, but I only waiting in line for about 25 minutes.

Before entering the site, each visitor was given a waiver to sign as the exhibit was being held in a building currently under construction (the Domino Refining Plant is slated to be demolished completely to make room for condominiums and affordable housing later this year).   I signed my waiver, placed it in of the designated boxes and made my way inside.

The sign upon entering the exhibit
The sign upon entering the exhibit

I was greeted with an overwhelming smell of sugar (duh, I walked into a sugar factory) as I entered the exhibit.  I noticed small groups of families and friends taking various photos throughout the space, but was immediately drawn to a group of three natural women.  I walked up to them and told them that I was the only black person in the building today – ha!  We laughed, exchanged pleasantries, and proceeded to embrace in a group hug – hey, we have to stick together.

I parted from the group and snapped a few shots of the small “sugar babies” and of the grounds.  The factory was beautiful in all it’s rustic glory.  Its such a shame that such an iconic building will no longer be.

View from one end of the plant
View from one end of the plant
Some of the old equipment used in the sugar production process
Some of the old equipment used in the sugar production process

Onto the sugar babies and THE MARVELOUS SUGAR BABY!

This lil dude was made entirely of sugar and corn syrup
This lil dude was made entirely of sugar and corn syrup
Another sugar baby
Another sugar baby
The baskets weren't empty......
Another sugar baby with contents in his basket.  This piece symbolized the weight that our ancestors had to carry day in and day out as they participated AGAINST their will in the sugar making process.  After reading “Twelve Years a Slave” I learned vividly (might I add) how white and brown sugar are made
There she is in all her glory.  The Marvelous Sugar Baby Sphinx made completely of white Domino sugar.  She stands 75 feet tall.    I was in awe....
There she is in all her glory. The Marvelous Sugar Baby Sphinx made completely of white Domino sugar. She stands 75 feet tall. I was in awe….
One of the visitors was kind enough to snap this great shot of me ifo the sphinx
One of the visitors was kind enough to snap this great shot of me ifo the sphinx
Side view of the Sphinx
Side view of the Sphinx
Detailed down to the feet!
Detailed down to the feet!
Another visitor caught a shot of me as I walked closer to the Marvelous Sugar Baby
Another visitor caught a shot of me as I walked closer to the Marvelous Sugar Baby

Before leaving the exhibit I was able to listen to a Q&A with one of the presenters.  I purchased a $5.00 keepsake poster for my apartment and made my way out of the factory feeling completely satisfied with my Saturday afternoon plans.

The poster is sitting pretty on one of my living room walls :)
The poster is sitting pretty on one of my living room walls 🙂

For more details about the exhibit please check out the link below.  The exhibit is in town until JULY 6th!  Do yourself a favor, check it out!

http://www.citylab.com/design/2014/05/kara-walkers-sendoff-old-domino-sugar-plant-giant-sphinx/9071/

Until Next Time Friends!

~PenniePenz

 

 

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