Acting as photographer, ethnographer, and historian I am examining the erasure of material, spiritual, and familial cultural artifacts of people of the African Diaspora. Historical and ethnographic research of material and spiritual culture of Africans brought to the new world is explored and used as symbolic elements within the artwork. These artifacts and symbols are combined with western material trappings of status and wealth. These works act as resurrection and reintroduction to practices and traditions that were melded within the Americas as well as a visual conversation of what we as a people deem worthy of the title “artifact'' or “of value”.
The body of work within ‘Reclamation’ shifts the traditional visual narrative of the viewer confronting the subject. Each piece is anchored to beauty that is a subversive visual rebellion. The subjects in the works cry for autonomy from the gaze of those that have, and would otherwise oppress them. ‘Reclamation’ challenges a narrative of Black being worth less-than. Descendants of the Diaspora, despite having had all overt signs of their histories, former cultural status, diverse and primal spiritual practices erased when they were brought to the Americas, endured, existed and matter. The exhibition serves to reconstitute and re-present our connection to spiritual and cultural connections that never truly disappeared. In this exhibition, these same symbols act psychologically to shift the embedded common narrative of the viewer of Blackness away from race and subjugation, and towards an expanded perception; a visual elevation of the subjects as powerful and holy in their own humanity.