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Lebanese American Rania Hassan ,  a mixed media fiber artist, designer, and printmaker who is based in  Washington, DC. enhanced the beauty of the United States capital once gain.

“There are so few statues dedicated to women ~ I’m excited to be creating a public art sculpture for one of the most iconic intersections in the city that will represent a monument to all women’s stories and their achievements,” said Rania Hassan. “My hope is this monument, Marker, will act as a beacon to spark an interest in the stories shared through the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative, and also encourage people to think about the women in their lives, and uncover their own buried histories.”

Last year she exhibited installations that combine knitting and painting with fiber and wood to weave sculptural stories about our connections to time, place, and circumstance at the  Smithsonian’s Arts + Industries Building and this year , days before the presidential election Rania enhanced Washington with her new monument on freedom of women in the center of the city along Connecticut Avenue, the iconic street connecting the White House to Dupont Circle.

The Smithsonian and the Golden Triangle issued the following announcement on this major event

The Smithsonian and the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District (BID) announced a collaboration to bring a new public art exhibition to the streets of Washington, D.C. “Monument and Marker” is the latest exhibition from the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative and the initiative’s first public art installation. 

Marker by Rania Hassan, a new monument on freedom of women in the center of the city along Connecticut Avenue, the iconic street connecting the White House to Dupont Circle.

“Monument and Marker” includes two artworks, “Monument” by New York City-based artist Maren Hassinger and “Marker” by Washington, D.C.-based artist Rania Hassan. The artworks will be on display on Connecticut Avenue in Washington for about a year.

The artworks illuminate women’s stories. “Monument” is part of Hassinger’s Monuments series—a group of sculptures originally commissioned by the Studio Museum and first installed in Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem in 2018—that uses sticks and branches from the local environment to build the artworks. Hassinger worked with a team of local volunteers to assemble the sculpture for Connecticut Avenue. “Monument” honors the physical and social achievements of the community and celebrates the possibilities of humans working together. 

Hassan’s “Marker” is a monument to women’s histories and contemporary experiences and the fibers that connect people. The bright pink sculpture is based on the artist’s knitting and can be interpreted as an oversized crown or an abstract knitting project that is at once unraveling and coming together. 

“It is thrilling to work with two feminist artists of different generations whose work amplifies women’s experience,” said Dorothy Moss, curator of painting and sculpture at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery and curator of the project. “Maren Hassinger and Rania Hassan are committed to shining a light on the power of transformation and healing through work that builds community and connection. I am proud that these two artists are the first among what we hope will be a broad and exciting program of public work supported by the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative in partnership with local organizations.”

The exhibition will be on display along Connecticut Avenue, the iconic street connecting the White House to Dupont Circle. “Monument” will be located at the Connecticut Avenue Overlook just south of Dupont Circle, and “Marker” will be located on the Connecticut Avenue median at K Street N.W. 

“We are excited to partner with the Smithsonian to bring ‘Monument and Marker’ to Connecticut Avenue,” said Leona Agouridis, executive director of the Golden Triangle BID. “The project builds on our long-standing effort to bring museum-quality art to the Golden Triangle and to enhance the beauty of the neighborhood. Each day, the art will enrich the public space for nearly 90,000 workers and millions of visitors to enjoy throughout the year.”

About the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative 

The Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative, “Because of Her Story,” is one of the country’s most ambitious undertakings to research, collect, document, display and share the rich, complete and compelling story of women in America. Launched in 2018, the initiative seeks to create a more equitable and just American society by creating, educating, disseminating and amplifying the historical record of the accomplishments of American women. More information about the initiative, including exhibitions and public programs, is available online at womenshistory.si.edu.

About the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District

Formed in 1998, the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District (BID) enhances Washington, D.C.’s central business district, the 44-square-block neighborhood stretching from The White House to Dupont Circle. Home to roughly 6,000 businesses, the BID provides a clean, safe and vibrant environment for hundreds of thousands of workers, residents and visitors, and encourages economic development through capital projects, public art, sustainability and events. For more information, visit goldentriangledc.com and connect on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

More on Rania

Lebanese American artist Rania Hassan

Rania’s artwork is in the permanent collections of the National Institutes of Health (NIH, Bethesda, MD), Amazon Web Services (Herndon, VA), and the District of Columbia’s Art Bank Collection (Washington, DC). Solo exhibitions include The Front (New Orleans, LA), Gormley Gallery (Baltimore, MD), and Artisphere (Rosslyn, VA).

Rania has given presentations about her artwork at area Universities (George Mason University, 2014) and Museums (Textile Museum, Washington, DC, 2012, 2015), and her work has been featured in publications including the Washington Post, Washington City Paper, and Vogue Knitting.

Awards include a Craft Award of Excellence (2009) from the James Renwick Alliance and seven years of Artist Fellowship Program Grant Awards (2009, 2014–19) from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

The Smithsonian / Ya Libnan

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