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Vol. 26, No. 2: Art & Vision

  //  summer 2020

“Our changed world provides a new momentum for this issue: creativity as a saving force, that energy from which innovative ideas are born, that spirit that makes it possible to thrive in our present circumstances and bring a new future into being,” writes guest editor Teka Selman. “Art, southern or otherwise, is a pathway to connection within ourselves and with others. In this new reality, art is as essential for survival as it ever was.”

Table of Contents

Front Porch: Art & Vision

by Marcie Cohen Ferris
“My family reaches out of these photographs, pushing through time to remind me of the challenges they faced—of flood, pandemic, racial violence, and debt—the same challenges we face today.” In this moment, when connection remains paramount as our lives have shifted to isolation and virtual interaction, I picture an imaginary gathering of the captivating southern »

Seeing in the Dark

by Teka Selman
Don’t you wonder sometimes’Bout sound and vision? Blue, blue, electric blueThat’s the color of my roomWhere I will liveBlue, blue Pale blinds drawn all dayNothing to do, nothing to sayBlue, blue I will sit right down, waiting for the gift of sound and visionAnd I will sing, waiting for the gift of sound and visionDrifting »


Black Women, Southern Memory, and Womanist Cartographies

by Michelle Lanier, Allison Janae Hamilton
The clay knows the hand.The land knows the feet.The souls know the land. Salt water flows in my veins, and I can recall my first taste of the Atlantic Ocean at two years old. I grew up hearing stories of how a six-year-old boy and girl, my maternal grandparents, met on a sandy South Carolina »
Photo Essay BUY ACCESS

Road Through Midnight

by Jessica Ingram
“In a purposeful inversion of the news headlines from the time, my work foregrounds individuals who fought for civil rights and who were victims of retaliatory violence.” It was a sweltering summer in 2002 and I was wandering downtown Montgomery, exploring and making photographs, when I found myself at a historical marker in front of »

A South in Every North

Diego Camposeco’s Utopian Vision

by Diego Camposeco, Jeff Whetstone
Diego Camposeco’s Utopian Vision “The quinceañera is smiling, framed in the center, a standard sort of portrait for the occasion, but she is pointedly out-of-context.” “There is a South in every North,”I wrote Diego Camposeco, whose brilliant career as an artist and filmmaker was cut short by his death in 2019. His art and writing »

Return to Sender

by Tommy Kha, Courtney Yoshimura
“What does it mean to be (categorically) ‘undesirable’?” When I first saw Tommy Kha’s “Return to Sender” series, I couldn’t help but think of an article I’d read some years ago about online dating apps in the United States. The article revealed how self-identified Asian men and women occupied opposite ends of a desirability spectrum, »


by Susan Harbage Page, Deborah Willis
“By gilding her passport, Page renders its emblematic privileges into an explicit ‘golden ticket.’” Artist Susan Harbage Page uses her US passport (collaged here) to explore her relationship to citizenship, mobility, and access. This self-reflexive art piece figures gold leaf as a signifier of treasured possession and links notions of worth and wealth with inclusion in »

Cancer Alley

Istrouma to the Gulf of Mexico

by Monique Michelle Verdin
“We ride the waves of supply and demand on the banks of the Mississippi, furs and cypress, cotton and cane, oil and gas, corn and grain, coal and aluminum, commodities bought and sold, always en route, pushed up and down river.” They call it “Cancer Alley” because it’s got a reputation. The hundred-mile stretch between »

The Once and Future Moundbuilders

by Christina Snyder
“That these ancient mounds have stood firm despite millennia of extreme weather, erosion, and, occasionally, looters’ dynamite is a testament to the builders’ skill.” With the snap of the last stick came the end of the broken days and the beginning of Green Corn, a ceremony connecting Muscogee Creeks to their ancestors and purifying them »

Plans, Propositions, and Realizations

by Mel Chin
“A drawing is sometimes confirmation to me that the shenanigans needed for a complex work are justified, a visual consideration of a much bigger action.” This selection of drawings and sketches represents thoughts, visions, and various objects and observations, conveying my diverse spectrum of engagements over a few decades. Consider some of them “best laid »

“Now We Can Deal with the Nuances of Who We Are”

by Deborah Roberts, Amy Sherald, Teka Selman
Amy Sherald and Deborah Roberts are friends, fellow southerners, and tremendously talented artists. Each in her own way makes work that is meaningful without being didactic and encourages thoughtful, critical consideration. What better people to talk with about the bounds of representation and the possibilities of portraiture? In January 2020, they caught up by phone »

“That Which We Are Still Learning to Name”

Two Photographs of Black Queer Intimacy

by Jessica Lynne
I. I have carried a photograph on my person for the past year now. Like my debit card, lip balm, or driver’s license, this photograph has become part of my daily essentials kit. In the black-and-white image, two women clad in patterned and madras print dresses and low kitten heels sit on a rock and »

I Wanted to Ask the Trees

by Jaki Shelton Green
I wanted to ask the trees. do you remember. were you there. did you shudder. did your skin cry out against the skin of my great uncle’s skin. was the smell of bark a different smell from the smell of meat flesh. human meat flesh. beloved father husband lover friend man flesh. could the air »
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