A unique art piece shows the history of Algiers

NEW ORLEANS -- A one-of-a-kind art installment has arrived in Algiers Point.

Artist Kara Walker has constructed a thirty-eight-note steam calliope similar to the one on the Steamboat Natchez and housed it in an arcane looking parade wagon of her own design.

In critical response to the Natchez, Walker’s calliope plays songs and sounds she associates with the long history of African American protest music: gospel, reggae, jazz improvisation, chants, and shouts, from “Sometimes I Feel like a Motherless Child” to Jimi Hendrix to Sam Cooke.

The wagon is called Katastwof Karavan and is meant to commemorate a grim aspect of the history of Algiers, which was once the stopping point for arriving shiploads of slaves.

This is the artist’s first public artwork in the South.

Prospect.4 is an international contemporary art exhibition featuring 73 artists from more than 25 countries across seventeen venues throughout the city of New Orleans. It is a “triennial” so it only happens every three years. This style of exhibition happens around the world, most famously the Venice Biennale, but Prospect is the largest of its kind in the United States.

Prospect.4 opened in November and closes in New Orleans this weekend.

You can go hear the calliope for free at the following times this weekend:

Saturday, February 24: 11:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Sunday February 25: 11:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.