A new digital exhibition opened March 26 at the Griot Museum of Black History in St. Louis, showcasing six photography-based artists from or living in the city’s north side, as part of a cultural partnership with the Harvard University Commonwealth Project.
The online show “In the City: Memories of Black Presence” is a collaborative effort headed by De Nichols, 2020 Loeb Fellow at the Graduate School of Design; Griot founder and executive director Lois Conley; and Winthrop Professor of History and of African and African American Studies Walter Johnson. It runs through May 28, and is free and open to the public.
Collin W. Elliott, Shabez Jamal, Alana Marie, Cami Thomas, Tiffany Sutton, and Nyara Williams use the power of visual storytelling — and their lenses as young artists — to examine themes of spatial justice, personal grief, resilience, memory, and public health.
“This show gives us the opportunity to connect generationally. We’re looking at the history of St. Louis but drawing parallels to the contemporary and how much alike they are across the continuum,” said Conley.
Williams turned do-rags into 15-foot trains spreading from her subjects’ heads as they posed in a car or stood on a mirrored square in an open field. Called “Birth of a Legend,” she said the title is both personal and about the people in her city.
“One of my superpowers is that I am a dreamer, and I am able to tap into that dream state physically and I can see that in other people. I can see beyond what you’re showing me and that’s how I’m able to capture things within my images without them having to tell me much of what they actually want,” she said in her artist’s statement.