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Panama (1980)

My work examines the struggle, failed expectations, and heritage of a displaced people - AfroCaribbean migrants summoned to work in the Panama Canal in the early 1900’s. Collected interviews and their intimate accounts inform my practice and illustrate the challenges in a segregated Canal Zone. My work relies on images from archives that fetishize the black body as exotic and obscure the female experience, divorcing the true narrative from the image itself. Through mixed media collage I piece together these remnants of portraits with family photos, and handwritten notes connecting shared truths in the African Diaspora. Mixed media collages highlight their contrasting racial, religious, and language disparities within Panamanian society and culture. Just as memory can be fragmented and fabricated, the juxtaposition of images and different materials reframe old beliefs creating new perspectives and representations of blackness.

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