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Thursday, December 1, 2011
Negro Family Tree
Negro Family Tree can be seen from down the hall before you enter the gallery space. People recognize the framed pieces and how it looks like a shrine, altar or simply photos that your grandparents would have of their family. As you get closer, you realize that these images are not portraits but nooses.
The piece originated as I was playing around with 1892 (I will post more on that later) and ways to display the 230 drawings; I decided to frame some. I enjoyed the irony of framing something like a noose. The feeling of having something morbid, yet beautifully drawn in ink sit on my desk, in the studio, while I was working as intriguing. I wanted to share that feeling with others, so I decided to take the 15 framed nooses and make them a separate piece based on the idea of not knowing details of ones family history but rather knowing the way family members died, an idea of which Malcolm X spoke.
From those I talked to about this piece, my goals of depicting a beautiful shrine in honor of someone from outside the gallery space did work. The piece was met with sad shock upon the realization that this shrine was composed of noose portraits.