Stephen Hayes is Making Monuments

Two New Public Art Commissions

Stephen Hayes is a Durham-born sculptor who joined Duke in Fall 2018 as the Brock Family Visiting Instructor in Studio Arts in the Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies. He has brought life back into one of Duke’s lesser-known art spaces, the sculpture studio on Oregon Street, while teaching courses in drawing and sculpture. His work was introduced to campus through the exhibit, Stephen Hayes: Selected Works, at the Rubenstein Arts Center.

The Duke sculpture studio, with Hayes’s work in progress on the left. Photos by Katy Clune.

Hayes’s work gives voice to the African American experience, through both historical interpretation (such as his series Cash Crop) and contemporary mixed-media artwork. Hayes explains his series, Voices of Future Past, recently on view at Raleigh’s Contemporary Art Museum: “I interviewed younger African American males about what they’re going through in today’s society, and how they feel society views them. I recorded their voices, and I paired their voices with busts of older black males. . . I am giving these kids a platform to be able to talk about what they’re going through and have it be said on a larger scale.”

Lately, Hayes has been busy with two commissions for monuments that bring his work out of the gallery and museum and into the public sphere: downtown Chapel Hill and Wilmington, NC. “I dream about the work, and then I see if I can do it,” shared Hayes.

We share recent news articles about this work and offer our congratulations to Stephen Hayes!

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