(Re)Union(1994), comes out of an ongoing exploration of ties to race memory as well as to family and identity. Through this project I attempted to trace my family back to the time when we were slaves in the Southeastern United States. Traveling through North Carolina, I went to archives, funeral homes, cemeteries, and courthouses, looking through books, tax records, funeral programs, and obituaries in order to gather dates, names, anecdotes or clues to the next step in the process. The name of each person with whom I had a direct family connection was stenciled on a box in which evidence of their lives such as birth certificates, marriage licenses, and photographs, were placed. When the trail got cold, a box was labeled “unknown”.
While boxes are the central repositories of the search’s evidence, the installation’s most prominent wall image, “Who We Was” is surrounded by glass plates etched with the name of each ancestors found. In this multi-part print, an image of an African woman in a grass skirt, dances with plates as a way to communicate with the ancestors. The picture came from an old (no date) English anthropology type book.