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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


Sometimes a picture comes to mind before the understanding of that image. Legacy came to me in this way. When my daughter was very young we would draw on each other’s backs. And when the image of two people holding hands came to mind I had to roll with it. As I created this piece I kept thinking of the things I had to do to get by for her sake and to make art. I thought of what I was passing on to my daughter and the struggles she would have to deal with, or not. I thought about my ancestry and the knowledge left behind, forgotten or happened upon by accident. The title Legacy came next. I dislike creating artwork that involves a definition but I had to define, for myself, Legacy. Something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past. What is in our blood, the things that bind us as a family, as a people? The images appeared on the back because we have broken our backs, bared the weight of things upon our backs, turned our backs, been thrown and or forced onto our backs. The image had to be on the back. So many things have been done to, for, against the woman, the black woman. We have had to bear the brunt of so many things and in the face of those things we have had to raise (to the best of our ability) our children. These things have happened in the name of survival around the world. It’s not just a Black thing it’s a female thing. As the first incarnation of this piece I simply wanted to combine, the body, race and the title to lead the viewer beyond the visual meaning to question their legacy.





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