Reimagining the Palimpsest | Mixed media collage | 12″ x 10″ | 2019

In this series of 23 multiples I contemplate the aesthetics of the palimpsestic archive in the context of Middle Passage memory, riffing on an Afrofuturist layering of time. Working with collage elements of archival photos of my father, and of his parents, of a poem about Yemayá, and of an altered photo of my feet walking through an imaginal path of bones, I ruminate on these fragments as an archive suspended in a sea of memory. Smudges of metallic pigment and splatters of gel medium bring the shimmering textured surface into conversation with translucency, calling to attention the tension between the epidermalization of Blackness and the unfathomable depths of what lies below. 

Through overwriting histories of slavery with transatlantic feminisms and Afrofuturist imaginings, I am exploring the metaphysics of the archive’s palimpsestic design as a means of refiguring bewilderment and decoding melancholy. Can the decolonial act of overwriting the colonial archive, of being immersed in the decolonizing palimpsest, can the symbolism of overwriting technologies of oppression with ecologies of empowerment reorient the diasporic African psyche? 

“This, then, is the existential message of the Crossing — to apprehend how it might instruct us in the urgent task of configuring new ways of being and knowing and to plot the different metaphysics that are needed to move away from living alterity premised in difference to living intersubjectivity premised in relationality and solidarity.” 

– M. Jacqui Alexander, Pedagogies of Crossing: Meditations on Feminism, Sexual Politics, Memory, and the Sacred

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