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Philadelphia Inquirer | One of John Rhoden’s Philadelphia sculptures is lost forever. Thankfully, another isn’t.

'Nesaika,' dedicated in 1976, stands right outside the African American Museum of Philadelphia.

"You might not know much about John Rhoden’s Nesaika, but you have walked past it every time you have passed Seventh and Arch Streets. The 9-footbronze sculpture, which stands outside the African American Museum in Philadelphia, was dedicated on June 10, 1976, by Mayor Frank L. Rizzo.

Eight days later, on June 18, Rizzo inaugurated the museum, then called the Afro-American Historical and Cultural Museum. 'AAMP was founded around the Bicentennial in 1976,' said Brittany Webb, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts’ Evelyn and Will Kaplan curator of 20th century art and the John Rhoden collection. She is the curator of Rhoden’s first comprehensive retrospective that is now on view at PAFA, which has acquired 275 of Rhoden’s sculptures.

The name Nesaika, as is noted in the PAFA exhibit, 'is derived from a Chinook jargon of a West African coastal trade language.' It means 'we' or 'a people.'"

Read the full article "One of John Rhoden’s Philadelphia sculptures is lost forever. Thankfully, another isn’t." online at by Bedatri D. Choudhury (March 21, 2024). Determined to Be: The Sculpture of John Rhoden is on view at PAFA until April 7, 2024. 

Featured image: Color photograph of John Rhoden posing beside his public art sculpture Nesaika installed in the front entrance of the Afro American Historical and Cultural Museum of Philadelphia, 1976. John Rhoden papers, MS.2019.01.4566. 

About PAFA

Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is America's first school and museum of fine arts. A recipient of the National Medal of Arts, PAFA offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the fine arts, innovative exhibitions of historic and contemporary American art, and a world-class collection of American art. PAFA’s esteemed alumni include Mary Cassatt, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, William Glackens, Barkley L. Hendricks, Violet Oakley, Louis Kahn, David Lynch, and Henry Ossawa Tanner.