Stitched Heritage

Mixed media oil paintings, 2018

Being an American with African and Indigenous heritage has made learning our history challenging due to America's treatment of either ethnic group. Issues like enslavement, migration, racism, colorism, whitewashing, forced assimilation, and the concept of the blood quantum have disrupted the rhythm of passing down cultural knowledge and family histories. 

Considering the effect this had on my identity, I researched creation myths from West Africa and the Algonquins of the eastern North American coast, wondering if an ancestor of mine could have spoken these stories aloud within our community. With much of my research based in speculation, however, I was only able to form a partial understanding of the stories, their significance, and my ethnic heritage overall.

The use of loose threads, patchwork, and the portrayal of incomplete narratives represent my attempts to piece together a history that will likely always be lost to me. Both myths have similar themes pertaining to the creation of humanity, twin brothers, deceit, and the consequences of actions.