17. Taveres Strachan’s Belong / Brooklyn at the Barclays Center

Tavares Strachan's pink neon sign "We Belong Here." Courtesy of The Joe And Clara Tsai Foundation's Social Justice Fund.
Tavares Strachan’s pink neon sign “We Belong Here.” Courtesy of The Joe And Clara Tsai Foundation’s Social Justice Fund.

At the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues in Brooklyn, on the plaza outside the Barclays Center, is Belong / Brooklyn, which consists of one pink and one white neon sign created by Bahamian artist Tavares Strachan. The sign reading “You Belong Here” greets visitors, and upon leaving, the second sign states “We Belong Here.” Strachan collaborated with Clara Wu Tsai, a philanthropist and criminal justice activist behind the The Joe And Clara Tsai Foundation’s Social Justice Fund.

The phrases on both signs hold significant meaning at the Barclays Center, where waves of protesters gathered following the death of George Floyd in 2020. In addition, the signs can also be viewed as a call back to earlier protesters who attempted to fight against the construction of the Atlantic Yards development, which the arena anchors, after its announcement in the 2000s. Since 2008, rent and commercial prices in this part of Brooklyn have skyrocketed, and the Barclays Center in particular has become a symbol of the area’s gentrification. Tavares’ work asks audiences to question who is truly allowed to call New York City their home.