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Lavett Ballard

Lavett Ballard

Jennia Fredrique Aponte

My work was born from the Virginia log cabin that held generations, of my family. As a child I spent summers surrounded by rooms with old framed photos of relatives that chronicled my family hanging off rusty nails in wood grained walls. This experience helped to subliminally foster an interest in visual storytelling. The idea of fusing the wood that surrounded those summers of my youth and my strong affinity for imagery and history has led me to focus on creating a visual lexicon of African American, female, self-identity.

I view my art as re-imagined visual narratives of people of African descent. My use of imagery reflects social and cultural issues affecting people of color, primarily women’s stories within a historical context. The fusion of wood and photography offers work that both explores my southern and ethnic roots, while visually speaks volumes to continuing themes within our community.

To create my work I have spent hours compiling a photographic catalog of images of the African diaspora. The use of layered collage as a means of creating an historical timeline with personal and unidentified figures is a means of developing my own narratives. The collaged photos, are then painted, destroyed and reborn to create a re-imagined history portrayed in the work.

Selecting wood as a substrate is intentional as it holds the grain lines of history and a textural affinity that is universal to many. The use of fences is a symbolic reference to how fences keep people in and out, just as racial and gender identities can do the same socially.


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