American Inheritance: Our Shared History
36 8” x 8” plywood panels, oil paint, letter stamps
4’-10”high x 9’long x 3/4”deep (58”h x 108”l x 3/4”d)
Our country is in a terrible loop of repeated behavior that puts the lives of black and brown people at risk, in prison, even to death. I asked myself, what can I do? My response was a year long effort to see African American history as part of my own history, to see it as American history.
A pyramid of color-stained plywood panels traces the inheritance of slavery that is ingrained in American culture in 36 stages from 1609 to the present. The knots, rings and roughness of the wood are brought out by the oil stain, revealing the beauty that springs from our forests. They describe fierce growth, inherent layers of contradiction, torturous submission and years of forbearance. Into these growth patterns images are painted and texts are stamped from 36 stages in our common history. My goal is to trace repeated behaviors in order to break cycles of violence, humanize indifference and bend our multicultural present towards a path of truth and reconciliation.