Towering over Hennepin Avenue, the black-and-white photograph of a journalist with fist raised stops people in their tracks.
The artist behind this complex, arresting image? Reggie Agyen-Boateng ’21.
Agyen-Boateng majored in sociology at Augsburg and now works professionally under the name Kusi Photography. He is one of seven artists featured in “It’s the People,” a public art installation in downtown Minneapolis coordinated by the Hennepin Theatre Trust. His portrait of independent journalist King Demetrius Pendleton was chosen to anchor the project with a multi-story billboard on 900 Hennepin Avenue for the next year.
“My participation in “It’s the People” is my way of honoring the countless victims who have lost their lives to police violence,” said Agyen-Boateng in his artist statement. “It also allows me to give back to my community in a meaningful way after the suffering that Minnesota has endured over the years.
“Working with King Demetrius Pendleton to capture his lived history in a single portrait challenged me to think about the complex layers and intersectionality of Black identities and lived experiences. This way of examining identity moved my work as an artist forward into new territory. It also became a way to document and truth-tell through images.”
Now in its fourth year, the 2022 project also features large-scale photos of theatre artists, arts leaders creating programming with youth experiencing homelessness, concert venue staff, Indigenous restauranteurs, student artists, and queer leaders. Learn more about “It’s the People” from Hennepin Theatre Trust.