The Storyteller's Coup D'Etat

Chicago, IL | 2008

THE STORYTELLER'S COUP D'ETAT is an ode to the joy of reading and storytelling. Located in the West Pullman Library, THE STORYTELLER'S COUP D'ETAT was created to inspire people to take advantage of the services of the library. Akinlana's goal with this piece was to call attention to what can be gained from visiting the library, both discovering the joy of reading and also using other tools and services to seek knowledge. In libraries there are computers and other educational opportunities that contribute to the evolutionary aspect of libraries and their function in the community. To symbolize this, Akinlana incorporated a hand-painted computer monitor as a sculpture in the installation. Akinlana and his team brought certain fictional characters to life to create four 14 ft x 4 ft 8 in panels dedicated to the magic of story. These characters were chosen from works by Illinois authors. Some characters and works represented in the mural are:

  • The Pullman Porter who brought The Chicago Defender and fought against lynching

  • Eleanor Taylor Bland's Detective Marti McAllister

  • Charles Johnson's book The Middle Passage and Rutherford Calhoun

  • Sandra Cisneros' Woman Hollering Creek

  • Bigger from Richard Wright's Native Son 

  • April Sinclair's I Left My Back Door Open

Akinlana hopes this piece leads to more people reading the works by these innovative authors, which are all works he has enjoyed personally. Watch the video above to see Akinlana's process as he created this inspirational piece with the musical stylings of Aumra Frezel. Commissioned by Chicago Dept. of Cultural Affairs.