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Kelly Taylor Mitchell Virtual Artist Talk
2021/2021 Working Artist Project
This round of Working Artist Projects was curated by Marcela Guerrero, The Jennifer Rubio Associate Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
“Brown is my favorite color. It is the color of my skin, the clay of the earth, the shell of the peanut. I inherited this deep appreciation, just as I inherited a connection to The Great Dismal Swamp and its Black and Indigenous forbearers who crafted a legacy of making a way out of no way.
My beliefs are a reflection of the experiences and people that have crossed my path, in earthly and intangible ways. My use of labor-intensive handwork, ritual ceremony, and speculative histories are expressions of memory.
The ways in which I remember are sensorial. A reunion conjures the smell of wet grass after a summer sun shower, the incomparable comfort and anguish of southern heat, the sickly sweet taste of that iced tea. Reunion can transcend the outdoor gathering that awaits after a lengthy drive down I-95, endless hands of “long game,” and first encounters with cousins, great aunts and uncles who are as unfamiliar as they are known.
A reunion is a collision. A collision of interconnected people, places, and practices; the same way that Diasporic practices of ancestor worship are as legible as long-distance phone calls with kin.
In Reunion familial lore serves as a set of bountiful seedlings for recollections that stretch their roots beyond first-hand experience, fostering spiritual technology and new mythologies. My work occupies the threshold between the real and imagined, a type of portal described best by Sethe:”
You be walking down the road and you hear something or see something going on. So clear. And you think it’s you thinking it up. A thought picture. But no. It’s when you bump into a rememory that belongs to somebody else. Toni Morrison, Beloved, pg. 18
–Kelly Taylor Mitchell
The artist will be on site weekly, with the exception of calendar holidays, to continue work on ‘Brown is My Favorite Color’ (Work in progress)