(installation view, left: Ella Littwitz, Flurin Bisig; right: Ella Littwitz)
photo credit: Diana Tamane

(installation view, left: Ella Littwitz; right: Flurin Bisig)
photo credit: Diana Tamane




(installation view, right Klaas Vanhee)
photo credit: Laure Cottin Stefanelli









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THE LABORERS 
or
MIXED-BLOOD MOTIF

2014 - 2015

SATIN MATELASSÉ, WOOD, PAINT, PLANT, THOUGHTS


"Mom's father, Amos Stokes, one day just walked away from his home, his family, in North Carolina in the 1800s when he was a very young man. [He] did not concern himself to get in touch with his family again. And, while living at home the white neighbors called mom's dad "That Crazy Indian.' Mom stated that is possibly why her dad walked away, why? Adults can also be cruel, can't they?!"

- Ruby Dolores Ostrich Collins Pierce of Mt. Vernon, Georgia; my maternal grandmother, 75 years old in 1997 (Ruby, daughter of Rubin Collins and Ostrich Lane Stokes; Rubin the son of Abe and Easter Collins; Ostrich the daughter of Amos and Margaret Stokes), written by my maternal grandmother, a mixed-blood, 75 years old in 1997.

Both sides of my family are resultants of the global history of labor, trade, migration, and commodities: the Portuguese at war with the Dutch in trade and in breeding within the Asias; the Dutch and English shipping Black African slaves to the Americas; slaves forced into labor and raped by European American slaveholders; slaves seeking refuge and breeding with the Indigenous; the Indigenous forced off their lands and onto less desirable reservations.  

With the loss of one's culture - language, food, beliefs/ stories/ rituals, land, ancestors - can one manifest the spirit of one's ancestors, through a physical repetition?  Does my labor of sewing this abstraction of a Native American motif, reconnect me to my mother's lost family in an epigenetic-like ritual?