Documentation, Self Care and Community Organizing – Hatch Artists’ Blogs Part 2

Part of the ongoing Hatch blog series, today’s blogs are reflections by our Hatch artists on their experience from the previous weeks’ class by Katina Parker, documentary filmmaker and Black Lives Matter activist. A staff recap of the session is available on our blog.

For this class, we ask the artists to reflect on the following thoughts:

  • Referring to the slides from the presentations  – What is your position? Why do you want to do the work that you do? What are some of the challenges, privileges and “tools of the colonizer” you must be aware of in order to do your work?
  • What are some of your struggles with “self care”? Are there safety concerns in your work that you must be aware of?
  • How has documentation been a part of your artistic process in the past? Are there forms of documentation you wish to explore in order to more fully realize your vision or in order to best express the communities you are working within?

We hope you enjoy their thoughtful responses!

in my work, I am fighting for the right of existence and recognition of a people who have been erased from the social landscape of our times, who’s history and images are sometimes rewritten as a falsehood in order to serve the gain of a dominant culture. My work speaks directly against that omission by creating monuments of freedom in the face of this oppression.

One artist at a conference I recently attended asked the question of how do we affect change for an issue that plagues us as well – in her case, poverty. Another artist (a bit older) answered, we are all responding through our work to the social injustices that we all face and are affected by in our own homes and communities. My work addresses the erasure of women (micro) and African-American communities (macro).

Charmaine Minniefield, in a selfie outside the Zora Neal Hurston house.
Charmaine Minniefield, in a selfie outside the Zora Neal Hurston house.

This made me think of how when I recently visit the home of Zora Neal Hurston, I realized this small community of color had survived the encroachment of public use, eminent domain and land speculators just 4 miles outside of Orlando, because of their reverence by the author/anthropologist as a public folkloric study. This community she called home is still poverty stricken as if without the turning over of its land and equity, economic gain wouldn’t be afforded them. But because Zora saw their cultural value and told their story, they remain. Her stories saved them.

This is how I see my work. I can see it saving lives, saving equity, preserving the ethics of a generation. The weight of it can be heavy. My persistence isn’t always welcomed. Self preservation and pacing is important. It can be discouraging to resist a system seemingly insurmountable.

Regarding documentation, the nature of my project is documentation – recapturing lost narratives – past and present. I’d like to explore more medium as forms of documentation (film and digital moving images, religious expression, musical lore, dance traditions, oral histories). All this intrigues and leads my collaborative interests.

by Charmaine Minniefield

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *