Artist Statement

The history that comes from being an African American in the United States follows each generation as a collective whole. You cannot separate the individual from the history, nor the history from the individual.Uniquely, African Americans are forced to wear their history on their skin, because of this it follows them in everything they do, including how they are perceived in society. They are always analyzed and measured to standards that are not their own; they are always required to have resilience in the face of systematic oppression. In photographs I aim to question: Must a black body always stand in the place of a civil movement or a political statement? Will a black body ever be a human body? Will a photograph of a black body be just a photograph of an individual apart from their race? My subjects have their history embedded in their appearance and their stories written in the wrinkles of their skin. I photograph my subjects and use archival photographs of my subjects in a way that invites the viewer in and makes them want to get to know the individuals within the photographs. 

Within further exploration I have focused on the female members of my family to narrow in on lineage and motherhood. This research bloomed ideas around oral history, family albums, voids within family trees, storytelling, and the black woman historical experience. Navigating through identity and understanding the process to keep a family history in tactic when the systems it exists within are designed to keep it apart.  

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