H.N.I.C.   serigraph on paper; 25 x 26 inches; 2018.  H.N.I.C., is the acronym for the expression ‘Head Nigga in Charge.’ The term is widely used in certain segments of the black community to refer to African Americans in positions of authority. Historically it was used in a pejorative sense to ridicule token blacks placed in nominal positions of responsibility to reinforce an illusion of agency when power, in it’s material iteration, ultimately resided in someone else’s hands. I have used the phrase in this work, to link the past to the present by juxtaposing an image of myself as a slave driver in the first panel, and as a business man in the second panel. The hands resting on my shoulders suggest an enduring conflation of race and power.
       
     
  Blocked at Five Points Performance   Film; photo montage; performance   As the on-air host for the PBS documentary  37 Weeks: Sherman on the March-- which chronicles Union General William Tecumseh Sherman’s “march to the sea”—I was absolutely astonished to learn that the buying and selling of human beings took place at Five Points MARTA Station in Atlanta, the symbolic locale where north, south, east, and west meet, and yet there is no historical marker or public indicator of any kind to honor those unknown souls who passed from auction block to plantation at the heart of Atlanta’s public transportation corridor. Equally troubling is that the Margaret Mitchell House, located less than two and half miles away, preserves the memory of the author of the celebrated novel Gone With the Wind which features a slave mammy as one of the central characters of the book. The juxtaposition of these two lived realities—one institutionalized and preserved; the other lost and forgotten—represents Atlanta’s inability to reconcile its present day identity with its troubled past. More specifically it is emblematic of a systematic attempt to control the historical narrative through a process of memory erasure.  Blocked at Five Points  aspires to arrest our predisposition to forget our past by drawing attention to slavery’s proximity to our present.
       
     
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