Small Nation of Women
Allegories, Renditions and A Small Nation of Women
In the early 90’s I found two pictures in a garbage bin of an overly crowded thrift store. Many of the items no doubt came from elders that had passed in Bronzeville and other south side communities in Chicago. I asked for them and the shop owner let me have them. The images seemed to be from the early 1910 or 20’s and were not in great condition.
In the present day, there is a boom in the collecting of early photographs of Black and Indigenous people mostly sold by those that have no connection to our culture. I never thought about selling them, just celebrating them in my work. I respect them as if they were my own Ancestors and have treasured them since. “Allegories, Renditions, and a Small Nation of Women” has allowed me to create stories for them. I pray their lives were full and that the two featured in the piece ( “she remembered herself down the path 12x12x1 2021) on display made it safely to a place where they thrived.
“Allegories, Renditions and A Small Nation of Women examines African American Women’s History, Christianity, and the citizenship project of the turn of the 19th century. It examines the way that African American portraits can reveal the machinations of elite Black and mixed race 19th and early 20th century women. Through this exhibition, we aim to visualize what the archives could not capture and depict the particular way in which they sought full citizenship through identity formation practices in post-emancipation U.S. In both secular and sacred spaces, innovation and freedom erupted out of the principals and practices of a Christian-American identity. They existed as Black renditions of constructions of Womanhood that depended on their contorted existence, and they were a small burgeoning nation of women.”