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2021 SPE Annual Conference: Imagining Legacy: Archives, Collections, and Memoria

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Gina Washington

SPE Member since 2008
Member Chapter: Midwest

Great Grandmother

Massillon Museum Readapt Show 2016
Installation Description:
2 objects were given to me to reinterpret by the Massillon Museum. One object was from Egypt and the other from the Osage Nation. Both objects represented created a visceral response in me. The words that came to mind were stolen, stripped and posttraumatic stress. How was I to create without anger, what would I show the viewer to get us all to a better place? I sat back and imagined my ancestors. No one speaks of them in posthumous terms; the President does not reference them in speeches to our nation, yet they are there. And in my remembering my ancestors the connection, the reinterpretation became simple. After all we are all connected

Part 1
Great Grandmother:

My Great Grandmother used to shoo away the flies with a special brush during the day when she cooked over an open flame. The fire never deterred a fly. She could not stand them. I don’t know if it was there constant pestering or the fact that they liked to attach themselves to the tender parts of your face and body. She used the brush her grandfather made. I found it the other day after discovering an old box in the attic sent to me a year after she died. The fly brush, now in pieces, was the only physical thing I had left from my family’s home in Africa. It is:
Ancient History
Of a people I still love
Now a relic star

Great Grandmother





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