book arts and narrative
Narratives have been part of my work since the early 1990’s when I began to write on my photo-collage pieces to explain a bit about the stories that were embedded in them.
This book is about Mustapha Shaw, an African-American man who served his nation as part of the US Colored Troups in the Civil War. His "40 acres and a mule” granted by General Sherman was on Ossabaw Island. The next year President Andrew Johnson took it all back. Shaw did not take this lightly and went down in history as an early civil rights activist. 10 years later he was working a 20 acre farm he owned in nearby McIntosh County. His story is told between the lines of a log cabin quilt pattern that includes an 1813 inventory of the slaves on Ossabaw that still exists at the Georgia Historical Society in Savannah that gave me chills when I was doing the research.
"Folk in the Quarters" is a book without words except for the text on the covers, "Am I Not A Man And A Brother" on one end and a scan of the list of slaves living on Ossabaw around 1815 that is kept at the Georgia Historical Society in Savannah.
The above two books use images from the Satilla River and are about slavery in the American Rice Swamps where infant mortality rates (the number of children born live who survived until age 16) were very high, 65% to 90% in one case.