Hemmed In, Hemmed Out, 2019

Mixed media wall installation.

Variable, ~ 42″ x 30″


(Click title to see post; click below for large/full image)

Created for the exhibit All About The Story, an annual group show at Hillsborough Gallery of Arts featuring a book by a different local author each year, “Hemmed In, Hemmed Out” reflects on Elizabeth Keckley’s memoir, titled, Behind The Scenes, or Thirty Years a Slave and Four in the White House. The book describes Keckley’s rise from slavery in Hillsborough (at the historic Burwell School just up the street from the gallery) to a free business woman before the civil war who became confidante and dressmaker to Mary Todd Lincoln.

I began the piece with boxes and the idea of being boxed in by societal definition and position, in particular by skin color–ones personal surface or topography. Keckley sewed her way partially out of her particular box, thus the burst corner and movement out of the grid. Her skills provided her, and at times many others, a living and bought her freedom and that of her son.

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