This is artist Ryan Mendoza, posing in front of Rosa Parks’ house in Berlin, where he’s rebuilt it just outside his studio, after moving it from Detroit. Parks is the civil rights activist who refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama to a white passenger in the 1950s.
The 2008 U.S. financial crisis is what led to Mendoza’s project. Parks left the south for Detroit in the 1950s, a few years after she became a symbol of the rights movement. The home where she had lived with her brother was eventually abandoned like thousands of others in the aftermath of the financial crisis. The city planned to demolish it. A niece of Parks, a retired artist, bought it back for $500 but was unable to raise the funds to restore it.
Enter Mendoza, an artist from New York who re-settled in Berlin. “The house was so badly injured and abused, I want to give it back its dignity,” said Mendoza. The artist created a sound installation for the house, which includes a telephone interview that Rosa Parks gave to a radio station, a talk that was recorded in this house.
Ryan Mendoza’s website, here.
A page of media coverage on Rosa Parks’ house, here.