Kinship Project

One of my goals as an artist is to create artworks, which reflect the histories and cultural traditions of a region through memory. I am interested in discovering how American culture has evolved in various parts of the country based on environment, migration patterns and cultural interest.   Therefore, the purpose of the Kinship Project is to create a space where personal experiences and memories connect to a particular moments in history through community engagement, oral storytelling and the photographic image.

By assuming the role of artist/archivist/anthropologist, I engage various communities to collaborate with me in developing new work by collecting personal stories and/or family photographs donations through interview sessions.   I then utilize the oral narratives and photographs as source material to develop multimedia installations and performances. The goal of these artworks is to create a memorial to a historic moment, which reflects a significant component of a region’s culture. My art facilitation projects can take many forms, including oral narrative/slide show projection installations, pop-up vintage photograph interventions, and social dance performances within landmark buildings. I also invite the public to become an active participant in my exhibitions by contributing notes and artifacts to the installation.

These public interventions into my installations allow me to record the collective memory of a region, which grants insight about the contemporary interests of a community. My goal for developing historic art facilitation projects is to create an open space for sharing, contemplation and dialog among diverse groups of people about the various social developments within American culture.

The Kinship Project Archive contains over 3000 candid & professional family pictures (vintage photos, scrapbooks, tintypes & digital images), mostly of African Americans from across the country.   The collection also contains audio story donations from Anchorage, AK; Chicago, IL and Charlotte, NC.


Project Portfolio  (click on image to view documentation)

A Jeli’s Tale: An Anthology of Kinship

A Jeli’s Tale: An Anthology of Kinship is an ethnographic photography record of African American families from 1900-2010. The purpose of this interactive installation is to allow the public to observe and reflect on the experiences portrayed within these found photographs collected from across the United States and abroad. The images are hung on a […]

If These Walls Could Talk

If These Walls Could Talk, is a site-specific sound installation which is based on the story of Doug Williams, the former Artistic Director of the South Side Community Art Center (SSCAC) in the 1980’s.  Williams lived and worked in the basement during the 1970’s as Artist-in-Residence.  I broadcast Williams’ narrative over a local wireless radio transmission […]

Reflections in the Moment

We currently live in a time of transformation.  Cities across the United States are in the process of tearing down blighted lower-income neighborhoods to replace them with contemporary mix-income communities.  Although the intention of creating mix-income housing is to keep the original residents of the neighborhood in the area, the truth is only a fraction […]

Reminiscence: The story of Vic Fischer

  Reminiscence was an art installation containing the life story of Vic Fischer, Alaskan urban planner and co-author of the Alaskan Constitution.   Fischer’s narrative emanated from a glowing white tent to reference Anchorage’s origins as a tent community.   Visitors viewed reconstructed stereoscopic photographs (circa 1950 to 1977) from regional documentary photographer Steve McClutchen.  The selected […]

Stompin’ at the Parkway Ballroom

Stompin’ at the Parkway Ballroom was an art Happening at the historic Parkway Ballroom inspired from vintage photographs from the Bronzeville Historical Society. The Parkway Ballroom was the hot music & dance spot in Bronzeville in the 1940’s, 50’s & 60’s. Count Basie, Nat King Cole, Sarah Vaughan and many Chicago Blues musicians all performed […]

Sweet Tea Party

Sweet Tea Party, 2014 The Sacred Keepers Youth Garden features a native landscape to attract monarch butterflies, migratory birds, and most of all, people. This interactive garden is a hands-on experience which gives many a chance to dig in the dirt, garden, raise caterpillars, and have fun in their neighborhood. My intention in collaboration with […]

The Gatekeeper

The Gatekeeper is the story of Sherry Williams, founder of the Bronzeville Historical Society (BHS).  Bronzeville is the first African-American community in Chicago during the Great Migration.  The Bronzeville Historical Society give tours and houses an archive of memorabilia from the Bronzeville community. The installation is housed within Faheem Majeed’s Shacks & Shanties project and […]

The Great Migration

The Great Migration was an installation project consisting of family migration stories from three Chicago residents with photographs from the Kinship Project Archive.  The project was installed in Faheem Majeed’s ‘How to Build a Shack’ cultural center project built on the roof of the Southside Hub of Production.   Installation soundtrack – featuring the family […]

Topographical Depictions of the Bronzeville Renaissance

Topographical Depictions of the Bronzeville Renaissance (2014) was an interactive archival installation.  I collected oral narratives and materials donated from the African American community in Bronzeville and gallery visitors to create an interactive topographical map installation at the Hyde Park Art Center.  I spent a part of my residency in the gallery to construct a map […]