A Garden of Illuminated History

as presented at the InLight Festival, Richmond, Va, 2019. Produced by the 1708 Gallery

Project Description: A Garden of Illuminated History uses light and analog overhead projectors set along a tree-lined pathway to create a series of interactive displays that examine assumptions about who is included in the tales we tell about local history. Using hand-cut silhouettes to cast oversized, changeable images of figures from Richmond’s past and present, each display is staffed by local docents, historians, residents, artists and journalists.  Viewers are encouraged to choose from a community-curated list of current and historic iconic Richmonders to create flexible and individualized displays of Richmond’s life on a grand scale.

Project Artist Statement: At a community dinner for this project in a resident's backyard, I asked a group of Richmond artists and cultural workers each to name one person in Richmond’s history who they felt had not yet gotten the recognition they deserved. I listened as they described Richmond icons who had shaped the city but whose stories were untold. With their names spoken, these icons became present; in the group’s respect and reverence, I felt the weight their stories carried. The backyard setting reminded me that history is a garden-- seeded and cultivated. In informal spaces, histories not found in history books are celebrated and passed on.