Silent Silhouettes reveals the hidden history of Beacon hill to show people the struggles and historical moments that had happened in history. There are black metal silhouettes guiding you to each site on the sidewalk, and on the walls, wanting you to discover the truth of the path. Inspired by Kara Walker, a contemporary black artist who works with many paper silhouettes, the installation tells the stories for each site so that more people can see the past.
Kara Walker has created many different silhouette pieces over the years and earned quite a few awards as well. One of her pieces "Gone: An Historical Romance of a Civil War as It Occurred b'tween the Dusky Thighs of one Yough Negress and Her Heart" (1994), showcases violent interactions where the silhouettes are cut from black paper and are put directly on the wall. Her work resonates with the historical context of the Black Heritage Trail, with an emphasis on the stories of the Black communities that once lived there.
Silent Silhouettes is divided into 3 different scales, The Urban Scale, The Building Scale, and the User Scale, each scale dives deeper and deeper into the experience that the user will have whilst interacting with the installation. On the urban scale, there is an overview of a straight-forward path with each site side by side representing that the path can be accessed and seen more often. There are also silhouettes going through the path and between the sites as a method of wayfinding for passerby's, further enhancing a sense of curiosity and appeal as you move site by site. For the Building scale, the Harriet and Haden house is in the spotlight and there are personalized figures and silhouettes around the site telling the story behind it. For example, for this site, there will be a story about the underground railroad and the slaves who had escaped. The silhouettes peel off of the historical site and go onto the sidewalk to present a more interactive experience for the user. Lastly, the user scale holds an example of the user interacting with the peeling silhouettes, going around the people of the past as if they were also there.