Muzae Sesay's Creative Court
Muzae Sesay, a former Space-Ship collaborator, has found a way to mix art, community, and play in one of his latest projects, a mural on Oakland’s Rainbow Recreation Center Basketball courts. This piece comes amongst a growing trend of artists utilizing not only playful designs but art that is literally designed to be played on, for example Virginia San Fratello and Ronald Rael’s controversial border wall seesaw. Pieces like this and Sesay’s basketball court bring art to an accessible everyday sphere, inviting kids who just want to run around and shoot hoops, to adults that want to who can appreciate the whimsical designs on the pavement.
Sesay says the design of the court was inspired by both the traditional lines of a basketball court and the feedback that he received from kids at rec center workshops before the renovation. The piece incorporates his own signature style which focuses on abstraction of home and domestic spaces while also adding in a landscape aesthetic, if you look closely the courts resemble horizon lines, with the sun and the moon at the center. Sesay added extra shapes and lines in the court to allow people the opportunity to create their own games. “ as a kid I loved shooting from random cracks in the ground.” Says Sesay, “ This court also gives space for people who care less about competitive basketball and more about making their own games and shooting from different spaces.”
Sesay sees physical outdoor activities as an essential part of community building, placing true value on parks, playgrounds, and other spaces made solely for the purpose of physically expressing joy. “Play is an integral part of community building in the sense that these spaces are things that you can physically activate and have this sense of agency over.”