Stitched Heritage

Stitched oil paintings, 2018

As someone of both African and indigenous American heritage, learning the stories of my ancestors has been difficult, in part due to America's problematic treatment of either ethnic group. Issues like slavery, relocation, and forced assimilation have effected the rhythm of passing down myths, folktales, and family histories. 

 

Considering the effect this had on my identity, I researched creation myths from West Africa and the Algonquins of the Eastern U.S., stories that were possibly part of the oral storytelling tradition from either culture. Both myths have similar themes pertaining to the creation of humanity, twin brothers, deceit, and the consequences of actions.

However, with much of my research based in speculation, I am 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.

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© 2020 by Nia Alexander Art