I believe the earth has a long memory and that we, often intentionally, do not. I view my roles as an artist, mother, historian, and citizen as deeply intertwined and linked to the same core responsibilities: interrogate imbalances, reckon with hard histories, create beauty, and work towards a future of natural equilibrium. Having just moved my family from our home in New Orleans, one of the fastest disappearing land masses in the world, my work is a meditation on land loss, the multiple histories of American land, and mothering in the face of ecological collapse.
My painting practice is largely personal, meditative, and a necessary precedent for my social practice. I make paint and ink from handfuls of site-specific earth pigments that I mix with washes of water and synthetic color that allow me to study the interaction between land, water, and plastics on a smaller, digestible scale. I find comfort in making geologic shifts (and my fears for my children’s futures) bite-sized, observable, and even beautiful.
My social practice is focused on creating transformative learning experiences for individuals and communities to connect with and protect their land from capitalist interests. In partnership with local organizations and experts in history and environmental science, I design community-led experiences that amplify the natural beauty, history, and pre-existing environmental activism of an area. Using anti-racist principles for learning design, natural foraging, and historical research using multiple lenses (indigenous, post-colonial, and personal narrative), participants in the social practice are able to form their own understandings of their community’s history, environmental risks, and possible ways forward that could be realized through collective action. The experiences result in collaborative, public earthworks that symbolize community protest and amplify land history.
What can nature and the long view of history teach us about how to survive this current moment? Our current systems are tangled up in capitalist, white supremacist narratives that I think are counter to natural rhythms and ultimately won’t last. Through my work and my parenting, I’m hoping to learn and share about the ways we can untangle ourselves, connect more genuinely with each other, and to our roles in our global ecosystem.