Pernille Gao

Black Prince

Class of: 2025

Major: Fine Arts BFA

Medium: Acrylic paint on wood board

Faculty: Sanika Phawde

Prompt: Coney Island-inspired project - we are to research Coney Island, take an aspect of its history or culture and create a narrative piece in any format inspired by it.

Inspired by the Dreamland fire a century ago, I wanted to create a reinterpretation of when the animals escaped during the fire. Dreamland was one of the early amusement parks built in the early 20th century. They had a travelling animal circus that was living inside the park during the time that the fire happened, alongside over 60 exotic animals. There was a black lion and its mane caught on fire while it escaped, and it was eventually shot down by the trainers. I wanted to capture the last moments of this lion, and put it in the setting of a modern day Coney Island, posing as a ghost that is haunting the boardwalk.