ate last month, a towering statue of a man on horseback, his body twisted backward as though in the heat of battle, was unveiled in Times Square. At first glance, the statue might seem an odd addition to the bright lights and bustle of New York’s flashiest hub, an antiquated relic of a time when prominent men were memorialized with equestrian monuments. But a closer look reveals a decidedly modern artwork. The statue’s rider is an African-American man, his hair pulled into a knot atop his head. On his feet are a pair of Nikes.
As Reggie Ugwu reports for the New York Times, the monument is the latest creation by Kehinde Wiley, who is perhaps best known for painting the official portrait of President Barack Obama that hangs in the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. Though the statue, titled “Rumors of War,” made its debut in Times Square, it will soon head to Richmond, Virginia—where it will serve as a direct challenge to the Confederate monuments that line one of the city’s famed thoroughfares.