Dr. Treasure Shields Redmond (Fannie Lou Hamer House)
If I were to attempt to encapsulate my theory of art, I would have to start with the fact that I have always been moved to create portraiture in verse of Mississippi. Culturally and spiritually it is a site rife with layers of meaning. Place, Women’s Stories, and Sound are themes I grapple with in my work.
My last book, chop: kwansabas for fannie lou hamer, was a collection of formal verse centered on the life and import of Fannie Lou Hamer. Like chop, my current work centers black women and their voices. Unlike chop, the voice centered in my current work in progress is not a strident, strong, and radical voice speaking truth to power, but a much more common voice. An interior voice representative of the everyday woman who must negotiate between her wholeness and community expectations.
I envision work that will duplicate the beauty and resonance of Black English Vernacular. Work that seeks to deepen the conversation around migration, and black people's motivation for moving from one place to another. I expect to complicate the narrative around Black Migration, and The Great Migration. I also expect to open up the conversation around black desire and the agency of poor and working poor black women, querying the one dimensional presentation of black desire as fleeting, physical and void of intellect.
My vision is that Mississippi as a locus of Place, Black women as carriers of our most important Stories, and the Sound descended from African rooted speech ways of enslaved blacks in the western hemisphere will continue to be fertile ground I return to in my work.
Featured Image: Fannie Lou Hamer House. Courtesy of the artist.