Artwork > sankofa

“Without their land, they will have no history, without their history, they will have no future.” This was one of the underlying beliefs that supported and perpetuated the slave trade. The history of slavery is a topic that most tend to avoid. Often it is brought up in February when many African-Americans celebrate Black History Month. Otherwise the topic remains buried in history books and is limited to a superficial discourse for a paragraph or two. America’s social structure is rooted in slavery and so is the identity of many African-Americans. For me, the history of slavery is one way to understand my ancestry, thus leading me to understand my own identity. This body of work is a reflection on my ancestors and how they lived, and it is also a self-portrait. Through these images I’m exploring the lives that my ancestors, the slaves, lived. Through their ordinary objects and the environments they lived in, I see their beauty and courage. Through my work I retrace the steps of slaves who are now lost to history and memory. This allows me to reconnect to their past and to their land, restoring their prominent place in history. This work is important because it allows me to address the fractured identity that I, and many African-Americans, have because of the un-resolved history of slavery. The meaning of Sankofa teaches us that we must reach back and gather the best our past has to teach us, so that we can be responsible for our full potential as we move forward. This is my Sankofa, my way of going back to perpetuate my future.