Fri, May 20

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Heaven Gallery

This Way Home

Through the excavation and reassembly of memories, familial accounts, photos and historical documents, this work reinterprets the stories of the women of artists Valentine and Carter-Rankin’s lineage.

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This Way Home

Time & Location

May 20, 7:00 PM – 11:00 PM

Heaven Gallery , 1550 N Milwaukee Ave #2, Chicago, IL 60622, USA

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As Black women, the search for home is often fraught with difficulty. The communities we exist in consistently look past us. Rendering us invisible, in history and thus the future. This memory practice is an act of reclamation––an exploration, a salve made to reconfigure the people, memories, narratives, and artifacts left behind. Through the excavation and reassembly of memories, familial accounts, photos and historical documents, this work reinterprets the stories of the women of Valentine and Carter-Rankin’s lineage. These are the women who built homes within themselves.

In line with the Black Radical Tradition of preservation and collection, the artists archive the lives of their family hailing from Milwaukee, Chicago, Arkansas and Mississippi.

Alexandria Valentine (b. 1996) is a South Side Chicago born artist. Their practice engages the archive, writing, collage and photography to explore Black Latent thought, ancestral landscapes and the Black Romantic. Valentine’s excavation of the archive serves as a tool to explore the past, create pathways to the future and peer at the spaces in between. Informed by the legacy of her loved ones who traveled from the South, whose narratives were historically fragmented by state violence, Valentine is preoccupied with the ways in which we may begin to mend temporal gaps in memory and history.

Billie Carter-Rankin (b.1995) is a visual artist from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She experiments with photography, darkroom processing, and archived images to explore loss within personal and collective memory. Her work primarily focuses on the absence of information, and the potential that is created as a result of that absence - specifically through the temporality of materials used to memorialize. She graduated with a MFA in Photography from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2020, and her BA in Media, Journalism, and Film from Howard University in 2018.