By investigating the make-up of interior (personal, collective, and architectural) spaces, a more vivid insight into the formation of various exteriors can be deduced. By employing familiar practices— of collecting, joining, and refining natural and repurposed materials—this research continues to mine and honor a variety of shared and neglected histories, to visually speak to a contemporary sense of cultural hybridity. African and American hybridity that shamelessly embraces the totality of one’s identity by zooming both in and out, interrogates the effects of the internal on the external, all the while revealing individual and collective identities.
The query of this work is in part a look into torturous separation—of peoples, of fact from accounts—and rectification through remembrance. What to some should be avoided or deemed ahistorical, for others presents the most befitting opportunity for healing, rebuilding, and the fostering of optimistic growth. As articulated in Saidiya Hartman’s biography and autobiography, Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route, “Waste is the interface of Life and Death. It incarnates all that has been rendered invisible, peripheral, or expendable to history writ large, that is, history as the tale of great men, empire, and nation. Waste is the remnant of all the lives that are outside of history and “dissolved in utter amnesia.” (pg.115)
These recent works are personal reflections on the people, the individual histories, and the cultural fabrics that I have learned from and share during recent travels across the country. They are a collection of stories, fragmented and fused together with room for the addition of narratives to come. By rearranging this assemblage of histories, “Sisala,” pays homage to interactions with griots from industrial workspaces around Detroit, to the Red Willow People of the Taos Pueblo, and more. The works bear witness to numerous examples of gerrymandering and gentrification around communities ignored by wielders of disproportionate power. And though they were (and still are) the structural foundation and infrastructure for these United States, the forgotten hard and softwoods hidden behind the white gallery walls, they remain optimistic for the future because they know where from whence they came. They are the results of a practice aiming to preserve invaluable communities and explore alternate methods of making a home.