reviews

Deana Lawson, Seagulls in Kitchen, 2017, ink-jet print, 71 1/4 x 56 3/8".

Deana Lawson

Sikkema Jenkins & Co.

Deana Lawson, Seagulls in Kitchen, 2017, ink-jet print, 71 1/4 x 56 3/8".

In her highly acclaimed 2007 book Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route, Saidiya Hartman observes that the black diaspora has, out of necessity, mythologized a shared past: a Mother Africa. When one’s ancestors, as well as the stories they carried, have been violently effaced, speculation and lore are all that remain. “Slavery,” she writes, “made your mother into a myth, banished your father’s name, exiled your siblings to the far corners of the earth.”

For her first solo show at Sikkema Jenkins, Deana Lawson exhibited two landscapes and eight portraits that explore what a shared black identity might look like and what spaces it might inhabit. The portraits, taken during her travels throughout Africa and the Caribbean as well as to predominantly black communities in the United States, seem at first glance disarmingly straightforward, resembling family snapshots

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the Summer 2018 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.